Shopping By The Rules

Depending on where the modern mother was living in the mid-90s and what she was doing with her free time she may have come across a book called The Rules, Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. This publication caused quite a stir at the time with many women feeling some of the "rules" (ex: "Don't Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls", "Don't Accept a Saturday Night Date After Wednesday) were anti-feminist and perhaps slightly ridiculous.  Other "rules" seemed to be more about having and projecting a confident persona (ex:"Be a creature unlike any other","Be Honest but Mysterious").

A friends recent question about how to navigate shopping in establishments where the workers attempt to create an aura of exclusivity/fabulosity by being less than friendly to the clientele, reminded your gentle authoress of the above book.  While one hardly wants to compare some people's strategies for finding a lifemate to purchasing fish, there are parallels her too delightful to be ignored. So the next time a well mannered modern mother wanders into an establishment that is not very welcoming she might try the following: Stand up straight.  Remember, she is a shopper unlike any other.  They are lucky to have her (and her children for that matter) in their emporium.  She should never be flustered by sales clerks who ignore her or condescend.  She is not looking for a new friend.  She wants 3 pounds of short ribs or a cashmere sweater.  She is polite.  She is cool.  She is calm.  She keeps her voice low so they need to lean in to hear her.   She never apologizes for not knowing more about farm raised scrod or why Christian Louboutin paints the bottoms of his shoes red.  She is not wasting their time - they are there to help her.  She doesn't talk too much.  She never buys something because she feels intimidated - she would not enjoy the product.  She is calm, efficient and pleasant.  Chances are, even the most uneffusive of sales people will remember such a confident and composed customer next time.

Of course there is another type of shopping experience entirely, where the owners and staff are welcoming, knowledgeable, friendly and may even offer samples.  In such cases the well mannered modern mother need only be her usual polite self, relax, and enjoy the cheese.


Anonymous said...

The Rules are the best. That's how I got my husband. You should be more respectful of such a great book.

Anonymous said...

Oh for goodness sake. The Rules are ridiculous! If you have to pretend to catch a man, how long are you really going to keep him if you don't feel like keeping up the Rules charade in perpetuity?!

Anonymous said...

But the basic lesson of the Rules is a good one -- and one that children should be taught: Show that you respect yourself and others are more likely to treat you with respect (and maybe will also want to date you!)

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