Hello. If you are the guy with the handlebar mustache working at the Me&Ro jewelry store on Elizabeth Street between Houston and Prince who wouldn’t make eye contact and barely spoke a word to me, even after I asked, nicely, for some assistance: Why are you such an asshole?
Is it because I was wearing Banana Republic jeans from 10 years ago that are neither skinny nor boyfriend-fit, but just regular? The thing you should know about those jeans is that they didn’t fit after I had a baby and now they do so really you should reevaluate your priorities, dick.
Or is it because I was only exchanging a gift and that gift, while lovely, was priced at the lower end of your merchandise offerings, though I told you I would spend up to $300, which, while still very low on the Me&Ro spectrum, is not nothing? (Remember how all those $20 donations made Barack Obama our first black President? You will never be President.)
Or is it because you and my super-unfriendly waiter from this past weekend, dressed up in an old-timey vest costume at Prime Meats, are actually partners in some performance art project that will eventually end up as a Prohibition-era Arcade Fire video? If that’s the case, nice work!
Let’s be honest: I probably hated you the minute I saw you because of the aforementioned handlebar mustache. But if I weren’t already so judgmental, I might have, say, given you the chance to be good at what you do, or at least to fake being good at what you do. I would have said, “Hey, my husband bought me a really nice pair of earrings for my birthday, but they’re not exactly my taste, so I’m wondering if I could look around and exchange them for something I love.” (I did say that.) And you would have said, “Yes, as long as it’s been less than 10 days since the original purchase.” (You did somehow manage to say this, which is how I know you have the ability to speak.)
And I would have said, “Great, it’s only been a week. Could you point out some possibilities in my price range, so that I don’t bug you to pull out a ton of stuff I can’t even afford?” (I did say this, helpfully.)
And you would have said, “Sure, good idea. Hold on and let me find some stuff.” [Action of you looking for a bunch of options, doing your job, etc., maybe rolling your eyes when bending down to unlock the jewelry case, but that’s fine, I get it.]
You did not say/do that last part. Instead you went silent and limp. Then, as though it were causing you great pain, you pulled out two pairs of earrings, said nothing, scowled. I repeated my price range, made “anything else?” eyes, said, “Hmm, that’s it?,” and mumbled something self-deprecating, because obviously I’m the lame one in this scenario.
And you just stood there, looking past me. So I stood there too, hoping that maybe you were deep in thought, trying to locate in your brain that little area where you store job information like inventory and prices and directions for How to Smile, but after a while I figured out that you were done with the work portion of our transaction. I asked about a few other pairs of earrings that I could sort of tell were likely under $300, and I was right! You pulled them out grudgingly, silently. How many others might there have been, that I didn’t even know to ask about?
At this point, I have sweat pooling under my armpits because you are being such a total asshole and I am feeling poor and ugly and middle-aged.
For a moment I think: Oh, wait,! Am I holding up all the actual rich, paying customers in the store by asking you to help me? But, no. THERE ARE NO OTHER CUSTOMERS IN THE STORE. So, feeling flustered and self-conscious, I pick a pair of earrings and say, “OK, I love these!” (Really, thanks honey. I love them. I do.) You grunt. I pay the $27 difference, say something, then leave. By the time I reach the Tori Burch store, which is like two steps away and in danger of having a rock thrown through its fancy window by me, I realize all of the really fucking mean words I should have said to you instead of, “Hey, it’s 60 degrees! I hope your boss lets you get outside and enjoy it!”
But maybe this is all my fault. Maybe, if I don’t like carefully cultivated facial hair and apathy, I shouldn’t be shopping at stores on Elizabeth Street between Houston and Prince or eating at (the delicious) Prime Meats. Maybe I should just pack up my Banana Republic jeans and move to someplace less… all of this. Like Chicago. Only, I did that, and the problem there is that everyone wears Banana Republic jeans and has never heard of Prime Meats and wouldn’t know better than to call the mustachioed subject of this rant a hipster.