Celebrity Status and Retail

“Johnny and Tim came in the store today,” I could hear his Joe Cool voice through Lydia’s receiver, though she sat a seat over from me.

“Who are they,” Lydia had just been complaining to me about the love this keyholder from North Carolina had for himself.  Something about walking into the backroom and finding him telling himself how amazing he was in a mirror.  He was the keyholder’s you hated, the ones so hungry for authority that they continuously called to brag about themselves, or tattle on every time there was a disagreement with management, just waiting for you to fire their boss and grant them neatly in their place.  These types always find themselves incredibly better qualified than their own mentors.

“Johnny Depp and Tim Burton,” he let out almost a sigh of annoyance, as if we should all understand he is on a first name basis with the kings of twisted darkness.

“Don’t worry, I played it completely cool, treated them like they were normal people.”

Lydia rolled her eyes, “Well I’d hope so, because they were customers.” Then came the question we, as District Managers, were paid to ask, “what did you sell them?”

You could hear his proud smile over the phone, as if he had only made this call to be asked this question, “Johnny bought a necklace and Tim some chi balls.”  Back to first name basis again.

“Seriously?”  Lydia looked as if she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “you had two of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood in your store, and between the two you managed a sale of 20 dollars?!”

Chuckling to myself I shifted my attention to the sun that seemed to set incredibly too quickly this short month I had to soak in the red chiseled landscapes of Sedona.  From our store window I could point out the Double Mint twin’s house, Ted Danson’s parents’ house, and the house that Nicolas Cage was about to lose in a rumored bankruptcy.  All this potential, and this snake was granted the masterminds behind Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, and now The Lone Ranger.

The largest celebrity I’ve ever had was a man dressed like Waldo that stood silently in my store for two hours as junior high kids ran in and out for a mall wide scavenger hunt.   The closest thing to a paparazzi were the daily pour in of teenagers posing with our  10 foot tall anatomically correct Giraffe carved out of Teakwood.  Or perhaps the group of pretentious business majors from Tech that approached the counter to ask me what year our company was founded and by whom.  When I answered, I was met by a digital camera flash in my face, and a roar of laughter as the kids dashed out.  Still to this day I wish I knew what that was about, and I begin to feel for the famous families who have to suffer through similar humiliation and discontent from a sea of flashes.

The shadow from the mountain now cast over most of the town as Lydia hung up and looked over in my direction.  “Steak?”  I nodded as we rose from our chair to begin our walk over to the restaurant up the street that offered us a 20% discount from the owner for the work we had completed this trip, and I suppose that’s as much celebrity status as we ever needed.

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One thought on “Celebrity Status and Retail

  1. John Holton says:

    When I was working retail, I always figured that someone in a department store was there to shop, not to be recognized or fawned over. I assisted several local celebrities (mostly news people) and always treated them with the same respect I’d give anyone else. Once I sold a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates to David Brenner, who I was a huge fan of at the time, but never let on. To me, he was a customer, just like the person ahead of and behind him.

    Liked by 1 person

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