We were the only ones in the boutique.
My friend, who loves to create a wardrobe for me that is far beyond what I would choose for myself was on a roll. I know from experience that we were in familiar territory. My friend will convince me that I need to update my clothes. I will respond by saying I think what I have is fine. She will tell me I can’t have the job I have and look like I would look. She chooses 30 new things for me. I continue to resist but in the end buy 10. I then leave them in my closet for about a month.
One day I take a risk and wear one of them. I am quickly surrounded by people who love what I am wearing. I have even been identified as someone who is into fashion and unless I tell the above story that is the impression I give.
Yesterday had a new twist. Only one person staffed this small artistic boutique. I had called the day before and learned the hours were from 9 am to 3 pm. We arrived about 2 pm. After about a half hour, the attendant began looking at her watch and asking if there were some articles of clothing she could return to their racks.
I was frantically trying on new things and negotiating with my friend. At one point I told the sales attendant she should give my friend a commission. At 3 pm we were checking out. I had a stack of new clothes that I knew I would eventually love.
The sales attendant started adding up the cost trying to calculate sale items and give credit where appropriate. When my friend handed her the credit card the attendant announced a price that was less than half of what we expected. When we asked if she was sure she had charged us for everything the attendant realized she had two pages of receipt records but had only charged us for one.
After she finished the second calculation my friend asked her if she had charged us for a piece of jewelry. The sales lady said “No” and ran the charge again. As she was doing this, my friend noticed a pair of harem pants she thought would be perfect for me. She convinced me to try them on and we added them to the check out pile.
The sales lady sighed impatiently and said the store had been closed for a half hour. I responded by saying that I had called yesterday and been told the store was open until 3 pm. The lady asked what time it was. I told her it was 3:01 pm.
Confused by her reluctance to take our business I asked, “Aren’t you happy to make a sale?” I silently wondered why she wouldn’t be as no one else was shopping in the store. I assumed we were off-season.
It was then she told me she was very happy to make the sale but she had just placed her husband in a nursing home and she was anxious to go and see him. She explained he had advanced Alzheimer’s.
I asked if he knew her. She said, “Yes, and he also knows I am the one who put him in there.” She said she had taken him home 5 times.
Sometimes adding sales receipts, making a profit, attending to customers and being cordial are all superficial intrusions into the terror and heartbreak of real life.