Friday, February 12, 2016

Of when I went to one of THOSE shops...

I'm usually pretty blaze about the inane comments my kids make, but recently when my younger one innocently came up to me and asked if I was around when dinosaurs were hatching, I thought it was time for preventive measures. You see, it wasn't just the comment that shook me, but the fact that the daddy of the above child was sitting right there, next to me, and it hadn't occurred to the the child to ask him, blast it!
Image courtesy: Google

So, off I marched into the mall (this was when we were back home, in India) and into a shop that I normally stroll right past, as I make a beeline for the electronics store. It was the kind of shop that had beautiful women staring at you from shop windows and a name in a fancy font that was code for 'I'm-going-to-be-far-more-expensive-than-you-suspect'.
As I entered the shop, the lady in charge have me a quick once over, decided that I couldn't afford her services and quietly passed me on to her assistant. The assistant, in turn looked like she wished she had an assistant I could be passed on to. I could almost see her steel herself while silently cursing her 'Paapi pet' for making her stoop to my levels. But, being the professional that she was (I'm assuming she was, if she was working in fancy-fonts shop), she plastered on a smile and asked how she could help me.
'Anti- wrinkle?' I whisper, by now thoroughly intimidated although they pair hadn't collectively spoken more than a sentence between them. If I was hoping for a reaction of disbelief wondering why this lady with flawless skin was in need of anti-ageing products, I was bitterly disappointed. Instead, she scrutinised my face and promptly plonked a minuscule vial with some snazzy packaging to mask it's diminutive proportions. Plastered all across this packaging prominently were the words '40+'.  40+!! I sputtered in my head (I was too scared to sputter out loud in case she decided to move on to the 50+ section) I wasn't going to be hitting 40 until... until... well, not for a few years, at least. But apparently, my face hadn't received that memo. It had, in fact, rushed headlong into a new decade and was safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. Just as I was getting to grips with this betrayal, the lady also kindly pointed out that that this cream would also help me with my age spots. My what? My screeching was reaching banshee proportions in my head. Age spots is something my mother needed to worry about. In a couple of years. And here was this silly chit of a girl barely out of adolescence (with unbelievably shiny skin) talking to me about age spots! Looking at my face, and mistaking my disbelief and horror as confusion, this baby-skinned girl helpfully pointed to another bottle - also from the 40+ section - a night cream she said, which also promised to 'whiten' my skin.
'But I don't want it whitened' I said, finally finding my voice,
'But you are tanned' she said
'I know.' I said
'But you'll be fairer.' she said.
'But I don't want to be' I said.
At this point I could see that I'd stumped her. The poor thing could not understand anyone who refused to be whitened. But this was an Assistant on a mission. She was determined to Earn her Commission.
'SPF!' she blurted out in relief. Surely even the crazy ones couldn't refuse SPF.
'This has SPF 50!' she claimed triumphantly.
'But this is night cream!' I said, equally desperate now. 'We don't live in Finland!'
The mention of Geography in the mix threw her completely. 'No, no!' she insisted. ' This is specially designed for Indian skin. For the Indian sun'
I was now at my wits' end and had had enough of baby-skin and fancy-fonts shop. I was going to take myself and my business elsewhere. With no talk of night creams with SPF.
Four shops and 3 hours later, I crawl back to baby-skin in defeat. She was the sanest of the lot I had encountered. 'Gimme it' I cried hoarsely.
'With the whiteneing?' she asked hopefully.
'Sure, why not.' I said, broken and defeated.
As she packed the offending package into an bigger package so I wouldn't feel guilty about spending an obscene amount of money on such a minuscule thing, she scrutinised me once more. And then she ask me, 'You'll be wanting hairdye for those grey hairs?'