so today . . . diandra, my precious darling daughter, threw me under the bus . . .
we were in forever 21, looking for clothes for an upcoming photo shoot. forever 21 is a good place to look, because they have LOTS of clothes and most are reasonably priced. we had a very specific goal--find a vest for javi.
vests are kind of back in style, so you might not think this would be too hard. but you would be wrong. we had already looked in several other stores with no luck, and then we struck gold in forever 21! when we walked into the men's department, there it was--the perfect vest, displayed on a mannequin. we immediately began scouring the racks to find one. we looked and looked and looked, but couldn't seem to find any. diandra asked a sales person where they were. he said they were sold out. diandra asked if we could have the one off the mannequin (which was just the size we needed,) and he said no, they weren't allowed to sell the clothes off the mannequins.
this made no sense to me at all. the vest was part of their inventory, we wanted to buy it, i didn't see the problem. soooo, i wandered over and scoped out the mannequin. i noticed that the vest only had the top button fastened. i mentally figured out how to get the vest off (i felt like that younger brother in prison break--i had a plan!) i glanced around, nonchalantly, and unfastened the button . . . no one came. so i quickly slipped the vest off the shoulders of the mannequin and prepared to make my get away . . .
. . . and then it got stuck on the stupid hands!!! being nonchalant was no longer an option, because the vest was hanging off the hands, and i needed to get it off FAST without knocking the whole thing over AND without being seen. because, you know, we had already been told we couldn't have it.
(i think it is worth noting here that diandra was no where in sight. i found out later she was watching all this go down from a distance, but did she jump in and help me? no, she did not. she just left me to deal with the situation on my own. in her defense, she said that since technically she was the one who was told we couldn't have the mannequin's vest, she thought we had a better chance if she stayed out of it. i'm not sure i believe her . . .)
anyway, i had the vest in my hands. i turned to go find diandra and head to a cash register in another part of the store (where they wouldn't recognize us,) when i was confronted by the sales person. he had a fearful look in his eyes. "you can't take that," he said. "but you don't understand," i said. "we NEED this vest." "but you can't have it," he replied. "if you take that, i will get in a lot of trouble!" i thought he might cry.
it was a stand-off. i didn't want the poor kid to get in trouble. he didn't want to have to tackle me and wrest the vest from my grip. but i wanted the vest. and he was not going to let me have it.
there was no escape. i could have made a run for it, but the desperation on the sales associate's face convinced me that it wouldn't be a clean getaway. so instead of making a dash for it, i decided to try to trick him with reason. "listen," i said, "i really, really need this vest, but i don't want you to get into trouble. maybe i could talk to a manager?" he loved this idea! anything to pass this crazy woman (that would be me) off to someone else. "yes," he said, "that is a good idea. wait RIGHT HERE!" i am pretty sure that one part of his brain thought i was going to make a run for it. actually, part of my brain was thinking about it. but luckily for him, he found a manager close enough that he didn't have to lose sight of me.
he had, of course, filled the manager in on just what they were dealing with. which really wasn't fair--she was shaking her head no, before i even got to make my case. "we can't sell the merchandise off the mannequins," she said. "we just can't. it is company policy." i wanted to say it was a stupid policy, but i didn't think that would help me walk out with the vest. so i tried a little desperation of my own. "but we NEED this vest for a photo shoot. it is just perfect! and the mannequin still looks nice . . ." i mean really, it isn't like i left the mannequin with any naked parts--it was still wearing two shirts! "i'm sorry," she said, "but our mannequins are styled and we are required to keep that look." by now i was starting to feel less nice and a lot more frustrated. all i wanted was to buy a piece of their merchandise which had a price tag on it. so i said, "that doesn't make any sense! you are trying to sell a look that we want but can't achieve, because there aren't any vests left on the rack!"
she opened her mouth to reply, but what was there to say? i was right--her policy was stupid, but she still had to abide by it. as we stood there looking at each other, with me still gripping the vest, i suddenly saw a loophole. "ok," i said, "how about this--how about if we leave you our name and phone number and you can call us when you change the mannequins?" i was thinking they would have to change them soon, since the vests were sold out! i'm pretty sure that by now she was wracking her brain trying to figure out how to get me out of the store without a scene and with the vest back on the blasted mannequin. so she said, "let me check with someone from visuals to see if i can get permission to sell it to you." i wasn't totally sure she wasn't going to get security . . .
in the mean time, diandra was lurking around the edges of things acting like she didn't know me. i had every confidence that if security was called, i would be the only one who was going to be hauled away . . .
finally the manager came back and said they had found a vest in inventory that i could purchase. it just happened to be the right size. i am still not convinced that it wasn't the one from the mannequin, but i wasn't going to push the point. i had what i wanted.
i held onto that vest like it was solid gold while we continued to shop. we moved on to where there were some jeans that diandra liked--but they were on a mannequin. again we asked the sales person where the jeans were. again we were told that they were sold out. we just looked at each other. as we walked away, i said, "do you think we could get those jeans off the mannequin without anyone noticing?" diandra replied, "no, i'm pretty sure security has been alerted about us . . . "
and i think she was right. because it seemed as though no matter where we went in the store, someone was looking at us. usually when this happens, i just chalk it up to diandra's beautifulness.
but now, i am wondering how often it is security . . .