i spent most of the day with my feisty extrovert and this one will be in my memory bank for infinity. We didn’t do anything extraordinary (in my book) but the time spent together while grocery shopping, meeting her friends and taking a really long walk in the park as the sun closed out the day was one of our best. No fussing, lots of laughter, sharing stories made me wish that time would stand still. As I look through the pictures she sent moments ago, I smile and commit the awesome feeling to memory
“Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.”
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
I watched her eyebrow arch, her wrinkled skin around her mouth turn upwards ever so slightly quite scarcastically. She stared at the woman sitting across from her, her eyes attempting to pin her young victim and silently wipe the innocence of her face. The young woman sat in the chair with her hands neatly folded on her lap. She was terrified but kept a smile on her face.
She had been in the older woman’s employ for quite some time now and was witnessing what she had only heard whispered about. The older woman whom we shall call Kit, had been heading that department for many years and her department was successful in spite of her. Projects were put together and came to fruition without any assistance from her but she demanded the credit. Things were changing for Kit and she could feel it. Her company was downsizing, she wasn’t connecting with her staff, she wasn’t productive unless she counted her frequent runs to the local coffee shop. The young woman was everything Kit wasn’t and was headed for a promotion – as Kit’s replacement.
Kit had been trying to discredit the young lady with stories about her poor work habits and her lackluster job performance. All of this culminated with a meeting in Human Resources where we now sat. I had no choice, Kit had violated company code and inspite of her many years of service, she had to be terminated.
Whatever!! I want to share a story with you about the wonderful world of luxury retail cosmetics (of course I am being facetious)
Behind all the rows of lipsticks, the multitude of result oriented skincare, in today gone tomorrow designer fragrances are GOALS. Yes, every little cubby, every little counter, every brand has a daily, monthly and ultimately seasonal goal to achieve. Every brand wants to be number one, numero uno and will offer gifts to the consumer, spiffs to the sales person and bragging rights along with a significant bonus to department heads.
“It is not brain surgery”
“Don’t treat clients like a dollar sign”
To be fair. There are quite a few honorable, knowledgeable and well meaning sales personnel but it does appear that the current business climate is encouraging duplicitous selling practices. I have come across sales persons who recognize you only by how much you have spent, if you appear to be very willing to part with your cash, and sadly though I lay some of the blame at their feet I do place the larger blame on their companies who encourage the behavior.
In a lagging economy it is much cheaper to boost your morale with retail therapy in any cosmetics department. The more upscale the environment, the wider the variety of new and exciting products to tantalize the senses. But remember, you came in to buy a lipstick (pink tones are trendy this season) maybe the liner, a lip gloss for after work events, the lash building mascara, while you’re here some line reducing eye cream, maybe that moisturizer that gives a youthful glow (winter was treacherous on the skin), oh don’t forget a rejuvenating night cream for the face, that fragrance you read about in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence with great reviews. It’s not brain surgery it’s only lipstick and it needs to be sold. You don’t buy, she doesn’t make her goal, she gets fired! Oh by the way did I tell you it’s a four week month with a $20,000 goal. I shudder to think how many lipsticks it will take.