I don't have anything fabulously interesting to say today. That's one of the little walls I run into with "blogging" (although the format here is more "web journal" than anything else.) When life is happening, ie: traveling in China or doting on my nephew, there's lots to write and/or rant about. But on plain ol' average days there's just not a whole lot to say. And now you are thinking to yourselves Whatever Maggie, like you're extra super witty and insightful when things are busy, but ha ha ha, I am ignoring you.
Things are happening, actually, but they involve carting many many boxes up two flights of stairs, reorganizing drawers and cupboards and begging TiVo to work properly in the new house- none of which is particularly earthshaking and worthy of instant publication in cyberspace. But lest this turn into one of those introspective wussy posts about writer's block, let me tell you the story of the Dimwit Saleslady At J. C. Penney's.
There are a lot of windows in our new house. There are three long narrow windows in the living room, two oddly shaped windows above the fireplace, two more long narrow windows in the "dining area", another long window above the kitchen sink and two small square windows in the kitchen. We decided to get shades for the three in the living room and the two in the dining room at the very least. Interested in pretty much everything except the cheapo aluminum/vinyl blinds, the kind in every apartment I've lived in since college, I set out to Make My Purchase.
But Internet, have you any IDEA how expensive blinds and shades are? GOOD LORD. I did my research, really, and my research basically resulted in: "You will soon be the hot gossip topic in your community because you will never be able to prevent your neighbors from spying into your living room each night, seeing you on the sofa with your glass of wine and your fuzzy slippers and listening to your nightly serenade to TiVo because girlfriend, you seriously cannot afford to spend the many hundreds of dollars it will require to prevent this very thing from occurring. Tack up some blankets or something."
But then Neighbor told me about a friend of hers who bought shades at Penney's, so off we went and oh, if there wasn't a big Home Sale with 60% off shades with another 15% off depending on the brand. Who can resist that kind of savings! So I immediately placed my order and then immediately backed out when the nice lady at J. C. Penney's wanted to charge me A BAZILLION DOLLARS per shade. And that was the SALE price. (Yes, hello all you people who told me that A BAZILLION DOLLARS per shade was "cheap" and "less than your sister-in-law paid" and "not a bad deal". My response to you is: whatever. I so do not need to spend a bazillion dollars on SHADES. The community can feast their eyes on my days-of-the-week underwear all they want if it's going to cost A BAZILLION DOLLARS to keep them out. Yeesh.)
Anyway, I summoned my Consumer Courage and went back the next day to somehow lower the price and purchase my shades because no matter what I say about my days-of-the-week underwear, two nights without privacy is quite enough, thank you. I held off the salesladies while I inspected the ready-made shades (all an inch too wide for my windows) and made 15 calls to Phillip. Finally I beckoned to The Saleslady- let's call her Bertha because that's the kind of name she should have- and told her I was ready to place an order.
Oh, you should also know that while I was doing my in-store research and calling Phillip, Bertha was bitching to the other saleslady- let's call her Bev- about some OTHER saleslady who was obviously not present. I was only half-listening, but the venom and bile floated freely for anyone within hearing distance.
So anyway, Bertha, who was three feet tall and bejeweled in many many gold heart-shaped lockets, emeralds, sapphires and thick, braided, gold ropes around each wrist, waddled over to me and fired up the computer. She wore dorky glasses and her lips were pursed like she was trying extra super hard to look Smart. I asked her about the Cheapo Shades, the fabric ones that look marginally nicer than vinyl shades, but are much more sympatico with my checking account. Bertha said, "Oh, those aren't very good" and walked me over to the Painfully Expensive Shades Display told me that what I really needed were the light-filtering double-celled Bali shades in Rose Quartz. They were nice, except for the whole Rose Quartz thing, and they were better quality, so I talked her down to only a jillion dollars per shade and that was that. Five windows, five jillion dollars. I made my last phone call to Phillip and then we sat down to order. It was a decent start for Bertha and her saleslady skills, but things took a definite downwards turn.
Bertha: So I just need your name and address.
Maggie: Oh, I'm already in the system.
Maggie: Yeah, I came in here yesterday and got a quote from someone else.
Bertha: Someone ELSE? WHO?
Maggie: I don't remember. But now I think I want this other kind-
Bertha: Was her name JAN?
Maggie: Jan? I don't remember. Anyway, those were so much more money-
Bertha: You mean Jan didn't even show you the Bali shades first? She showed you the Graber ones? Those are much more expensive!
Maggie: Yeah, I didn't do my homework first.
Bertha: Hey Bev! JAN wanted to sell this customer the GRABER shades! Can you BELIEVE HER?
Maggie: catching on that Jan was the focus of the aforementioned venom and bile Well, those are the ones I was looking at-
Bertha: prim little lips tightly pursed I'm Not! Surprised!
Maggie: I didn't tell Jan how much I wanted to spend. I'm not sure I was even working with Jan! Anyway, I'd really like to get the ones you said were a jillion dollars each. I have my measurements right here.
Bertha: Now. Did you measure the windows?
Maggie: Yes. I just said I have the measurements.
Bertha: Did you measure ALL the windows? Did you measure EACH WINDOW? We need exact measurements.
Maggie: I measured EACH WINDOW. And I have the measurements right here.
Bertha: Okay, they need to be exact.
Maggie: They are exact. The first one is 21 and 15/16ths of an inch.
Maggie: The second one is 22 exactly. The third one is 21 and 15/16ths again.
Bertha: We need measurements to the closest eighth of an inch.
Maggie: So not THAT exact, huh?
Bertha: shooting tongues of fire with her beady eyeballs
Maggie: oh no you don't, lady, because I have the meanest stinkeye in the Pacific Northwest
Bertha: Well, if you could give me the measurements to the closest eighth of an inch.
Maggie: Well, since I measured EXACTLY, and my measurements are right in the middle, is it better to round up or round down to the closest eighth?
Bertha: The manufacturer takes off an eighth of an inch from your measurement.
Maggie: Okay. So do I round up or round down?
Bertha: flips through manufacturer's catalog
Maggie: Because if you tell people to measure exactly, they must come in here with measurements to the sixteenth of an inch. Surely you must know.
Bertha: flip flip flip
Maggie: Because, need I point out, eighths of an inch aren't as exact as sixteenths of an inch. Possibly you've had other customers make the same mistake.
Bertha: I would think you round down.
Maggie: But I would think you round up, as the manufacturer is taking off an eighth of an inch already and you don't want the shades to be too narrow. And if we overestimate, we're only adding a sixteenth of an inch, so when the manufacturer takes off an eighth for the casing, there's still a bit of wiggle room.
Bertha: flip flip flip
Maggie: So I think I'll round up, if that's okay with you. I'm not too good with math, but I would think you've run into this difficulty before?
Bertha: And what color would you like those in?
At the end of the process, when I realized Bertha had the wrong shipping address and she needed to change it and she snottily said, "Well I'll have to do it ALL OVER" and looked at me expectantly, I did not apologize. And I only felt the teeniest tiniest bit of guilt at not having told her earlier. Because Bertha needed to do some penance for her overarching stupidity and I also think the Management at J. C. Penney's needs to do some as well for sticking a complete moron who doesn't know the meaning of the word "exact" in the window treatments department. Attention Management: Letter to follow.
In two weeks I should have pretty cellular shades for five living room windows. All other window treatments shall be purchased at Target or fashioned together out of duct tape and tin foil.