Today was another granola demo day. I'd decided I was going to locate my table somewhere far from an open refrigerator case, as I not longer find the challenge of freezing for four hours a bracing test of my fortitude. Besides, I'm sick of staring at butter and yogurt (who knew there were so many kinds?)
I saw another woman demo-ing some cookies in an aisle closer to the front of the store, and asked her whether she'd mind if I set up near her. I figured we could share some company. She liked the idea, and as she was demo-ing gluten-free cookies, we decided we'd create a gluten-free gauntlet for shoppers to run. She was also almost out of product and would be leaving soon.
We chatted and I discovered she worked for a company that was contracted by clients to demo their products. I also found out that for a flat fee she just handed out samples until the product was gone, and then went home. So for three hours she made twice what I made in four.
I'm calling her company tomorrow.
My new location had me facing the Personal Care section, so I was getting to know the woman who worked there. I asked her about the oddest things she's been asked for.
She looked at passing shoppers, waited until we were alone, and said, "I had a guy once talk at me for a half-hour about improving the morphology of his sperm. He was having trouble getting his wife pregnant.
"Another time a guy said he needed something for itching, and I said I needed to know a little bit more. He just said, 'For itching,' and I asked him to describe the condition of the skin, was there a rash, anything, and he finally yelled, 'IT JUST ITCHES!'"
"And that's when you realized what was itching," I laughed.
I told her I often get people who want to talk at me. They just park themselves at my table and don't pick up on cues that they are in the way.
"The thing is," she said, "the people who come into this store, they have their things, their fancy whatever, but a lot of them are just really lonely." I agreed.
Just then, an elderly woman with a bad wig rolled her shopping cart to the table. She was hunched over it to the point where she had to look up at me through huge plastic glasses.
"What are you sampling here?" she snarled.
"This is granola from Michi--"
"YUCK!" she yelled. I looked at her. Now, I deal with people who range from thoughtless to rude all the time, but today I felt that final straw quivering. I've had a really crappy two months -- a REALLY crappy two months, and my impulse control is almost totally gone. I knew I was going to say something, so I tried to channel it into something less destructive.
Putting on the biggest smile I could, I said, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR CANDOR. IT'S SO REFRESHING."
She glared at me then wheeled away.
And so went another demo day.