Saturday, September 30, 2006

In Which My Superpowers Suffer from Kryptonite

Mr. McGee thinks that I have a superpower, entitled "Make Retail Sales Associates Kowtow to Me." I mostly use this superpower when I'm in high-end boutique-type stores and being ignored. As a rule, having worked retail myself, I am endlessly polite and patient with retail salespeople. Working retail sucks. But in certain retail stores, when I am being ignored because the salespeople are profiling me as "too young" or "too poor" or "not trendy enough to be our demographic," I feel obligated to whip out my superpower.

My superpower consists of nothing more than standing up straight, looking extremely bored and irritated, and feeling superior. Mr. McGee was astonished when I used this superpower on our honeymoon and we were IMMEDIATELY served -- and apologized to -- in a boutique that had been ignoring our existence and attempt to buy a costly souvenier for several minutes. My superpower never fails, from the pharmacy to costly East Coast boutiques. My superpower is basically an attitude that says, "I have a great deal of money and if you don't pay attention to me THIS INSTANT, you are not getting a commission." (My superpower is something of a liar.) It's amazing how quickly it works.

This weekend I went to a furniture store. I popped over while running my weekly errands, and I was wearing trackies and a cheerful purple scarf. (24 years of life in the midwest has convinced me the only way to defeat cold weather is with VERY CHEERFUL COLORS.) This is how I discovered that my superpower DOES NOT WORK in the midwest when I'm wearing trackies. Now, on the coasts, trackies are something that Hollywood stars wear to go shopping in. But in the midwest, wearing trackies to shop apparently says, "I am either 17 or have no clue how to dress myself."

The midwest is probably right about this. Full-grown adults don't really have any business appearing in public in trackies unless they have the flu or are actively jogging (something that is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY I will ever do). But still -- my life has three levels of clothing: Suits, which are for court; business casual, which is for client meetings; and schlubby clothes, which are for days when I work the hardest and spend all day THINKING and writing and busting my butt. So it was a little annoying to discover that my most SERIOUS clothes, the schlubby trackies, are the ones that don't get taken seriously at the store. Particularly when I was attempting to use my superpower. Nobody likes to discover Kryptonite.

Not that suits are foolproof. I went right from court to trying on bridesmaid dresses earlier this week, and one of the clerks at the bridal boutique felt the need to inform me I was fat. Guess what store I won't be buying my dress from?

Some things, you just don't need superpowers for.


C. J. Summers said...

I hope you retorted, "Not as fat as your head."

Anonymous said...

I am one of those people that never get served. I would like to think that I look too young (even at 35?) rather than too poor, but I fear it's the latter.
I am going to reread your entry and practice "the look" because tomorrow I am going to see the Oprah show (Barack Obama is the guest which has inspired me to make up a wonder Barack Obama! Barack Obama! on Oprah! dance that greatly embarrasses my children) and will be shopping afterwards. Snooty Michigan Ave salespeople beware.