Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nunya Business

One lonely plan-free Friday night, after rifling through the cabinets and finding nothing upon which to snack (not even chocolate baking chips), trolling the six bookcases in the house and finding nothing of real interest to read, and suffering through an Olympic opening ceremony that included an interview with a swimmer conducted by Ryan Seacrest, it was time to take measures. The Seacrest thing had pushed me over the edge, and it was “Dohner Out” as I hurried to turn off the TV and exit the house. The problem was where to go.

Bars were ruled out, which pretty much left shopping as the only viable solo option. As I am trying to minimize my stuff, not acquire more things, I chose to visit Kroger, where the flyer indicated a special on Fritos, Cheetos and Ruffles. At least I could stuff my face upon my return home. And maybe I’d meet Prince Charming there and it would turn into a coffee date or something. Yes, it’s an idiotic fantasy, but some days, (especially Friday and Saturday) it’s all I have. Unfortunately, halfway to the store I realized I was wearing the unflattering pants and socks and sneakers I wore to walk the dogs after work. Ugh.

Once in the store, I studied the sushi display but most of it is covered in some kind of sauce stuff, so I ruled it out and headed to the salty snack row, where I deliberated over my junk food options as if my life depended on it. The bonus at Kroger is, the chips are in the same row as the beer, so I could scope out the men on a beer run, not that I’d be bold enough to do anything even if I did see someone attractive. What would I do, sidle up to the guy and purr in my sultriest tones, “Oh, darling, you just chose my favorite grocery store beer and doesn’t this place have a decent selection for a grocery store ... so how about you get another six pack and I’ll help you drink it?” Right. I would have to be already really, really drunk to be that bold.

The Frito/ Cheetos/ Ruffles deal was three bags for $7 and my reason for being there, but I chose instead, store brand tortilla chips on sale for $1 and the smaller-than-family size bag of Lay’s. Lay’s are my favorite major brand, mass market chips and a workable substitute for the Tri-Sum chips of my youth that I can’t get unless I order them by the case. History has already proven caseloads of chips to not be a good idea. There is no pantry place to store them out of sight (and thus out of mind), so I just eat them all in a few days. For real.

After the painstaking salty snack deliberations, I extended my big night out by wandering over to the frozen treats case to really jazz up my pity party of one. I lingered over the Ben & Jerry’s and the Haagen-Daz and Bunny and Breyer’s and Edy’s and store brands. There were the no-longer-a-half-gallon new 1.5 quart size on a two-for-one sale, but the freezer was already full of pasta and shrimp and two ears of corn from last summer that I keep forgetting to throw out. I had to be practical and think smaller.

There was a woman in the ice cream row talking loudly on a cell phone, which was kind of annoying, as it was interfering with my frozen treat musings, but it got even weirder when she put her phone away and continued talking to herself in a normal conversational tone of voice. She was expressing out loud what she was thinking about the ice cream. “Oh, caramel swirl, that could be good, but wait that is the store brand, ewww. Oh, look, Ben And Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Hmmm. What the heck? Frozen Greek yogurt? Blah, blah, blah.” Meanwhile, my eyes were rolling and the voice in my head, which I am fortunately able to generally keep from coming out my mouth, was responding with “Lady, you are coming off like a lunatic, stop narrating your ice cream shopping and shut the hell up!” Cripes.

I hurried my selection to get away from the lady talking to herself and grabbed a small container of store brand chocolate and one of rainbow sherbert, each on sale for $1. I felt her chastising gaze upon my lowbrow store brand choices, but fortunately, her commentary didn’t extend to critiquing my selections, at least not while I was there. If it had, I’d have been forced to tell her if it was so offensive to her, then maybe she should give me the money to buy something less heinous like Ben and Jerry's. But most likely not.

At the register, my potato chips, tortilla chips, ice cream and sherbert moved along on  the conveyor belt. When I handed the cashier my Kroger card (gas points, baby!), she muttered something. I said “Sorry?” and she repeated herself, slightly less mumbly, but still barely intelligible. “Hi. Are you having a good day?”

What is this, some new customer inquisition model? Wouldn’t a more appropriate question be, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” to which I might have responded, “Well, I found my chips, but alas, the Prince Charming I hoped to find in the beer row was nowhere to be seen.”

But come on.  Am I “having a good day?” Seriously? Isn’t that kind of none of your business little Miss Grocery Store Cashier? Cripes, My ex-husband didn’t even get that conversationally personal in seven years of marriage. I wanted to shriek “ I’m a single woman, alone in the grocery store at 9:00 on a Friday night buying chips and ice cream. Do I look like I’m having a good day?”

But I didn’t want to come off looking like the lunatic talking out loud to herself  in the ice cream row and who was now behind me at the checkout, so what I really said was, “Uh, not really.”

Let’s analyze: Is it necessary to my purchase transaction for me to have had a good day? Maybe this line of questioning is a new FDA requirement for buying junk food, or Kroger is now screening people for depression at the checkout. I wonder what she would have asked if I’d been buying razor blades, too. Just stop the busybody chit chat, take my money, give me my damned chips and ice cream and let me get out of here. I’m sure the chatterbox behind me was all too eager to divulge the details of her day, so leave me alone and quiz her.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Smellin' Money

We get business and banking trade magazines at work, which are circulated throughout the office. Titles including Nashville Business Journal, Nashville Post, ABA Bank Marketing Magazine and Independent Banker routinely land on my desk and I actually read them. Sometimes they are a little beyond my scope of work or interest, but there is almost always something in each magazine to catch my eye.

Oftentimes, the articles I enjoy are about using social media to promote business, new businesses opening, customer relationship management or successful bank marketing campaigns from around the country. I always scan the photos and mentally critique the men in them. Once in a great while, the critique is along the line of “Dang, he’s hot. That beautifully tailored suit really brings out his gray hair. Oh, crap, he’s wearing a wedding ring.” Unfortunately, it’s more like “Eww.... did this guy not know he was having his picture taken for this article? What’s with the clown hair?”  Yes, I know ... I probably shouldn’t be reading a business magazine like it’s the listings, but hey, I’m single and drowning in a sea of couples. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Just as New Yorkers were reported to read the obituaries looking for apartment openings and I read them in search of new job openings, this is just a natural, less morbid extension of the process.

In my overactive inner life, if and when I see a photo of a hot businessman or banker in a nicely tailored suit and it’s not mentioned that he’s married, I would drop him a brief, professional note commenting on his brilliant quote in the article, we begin corresponding, and soon, we live happily ever after. It could happen! I had a coworker once who met her handsome and amazing husband when he was an expert witness in a case she was trying. My cousin made a wish on her birthday cake and that very same night her wish was granted when she literally bumped into the handsome Scotsman who would become her husband! See! Real life examples of happily ever after. Unfortunately, in six years of reading the magazines at work, I’ve not yet seen one banker or businessman I found attractive enough to take out my pen and get busy, so I can’t even execute the first step of my fantastical plan. But it doesn’t stop me from hoping.

Today, there was something in the ABA Bank Marketing Magazine that caught my eye. Two things actually. One was  an article by Robert Hall on relationships in our increasingly technology driven world that fosters fewer reasons to leave the house (I need the book -- “This Land of Strangers”). The other was a brief article about a new cologne. Yes, cologne. In a banking magazine. It’s a cologne called Money, comes in His and Her versions, packed in a box with shredded US currency. It claims to smell like freshly minted cash. So, it’s possible to look like money, smell like money and really and truly be SO MONEY! Even the website name is inspiring ...

I want this. I need this. I couldn’t wait to get home and check how much money it takes to smell like money (just $42.50! Subtle hint ... my birthday is in one month). This could kickstart the other fantasy that runs through my head ... the one where I meet my personalized version of Prince Charming Mr. Right in the seat next to me on an airplane, while standing in line at a coffee shop or when reaching for the perfect avocado in the produce department of the local grocery store. This fantasy is the reason I rarely leave the house without makeup. One never knows. I already told you about two real life instances of which I am personally acquainted.

Smelling like Money!!! Maybe that’s the golden ticket to attracting a guy who at least owns a nice suit, but more likely, I will attract the panhandler on the street who is in desperate need of money. But which version do I get? If and when I remember to bother to spritz on cologne, it’s Armani for Men, because most women’s fragrances smell too powdery or flowery and make me gag. There is no point grossing myself out with cologne, as there are enough reeking ladies running around the ‘Ville handling the task for me.

I checked the list of “resellers” on the Money website, hoping to test drive “The Fragrance of Success” which includes “the distinct note of fresh, crisp bills” (Her Money) or “the unique aroma of newly-printed bills” (His Money). Sadly, the only Tennessee reseller is, of all places, “The Cowboy Store” in some town called Huntingdon that I’ve never heard of before. Interestingly, many of the reseller names contain the words “Western” and “Cowboy” with Oklahoma and Texas having the most resellers. The smell of money will be heavy in the air over the oil well states. Strangely, the giant state of California has only two resellers, and Massachusetts and New York have none. Asia is listed with just one reseller in the entire region. Europe has one in Lithuania and England has just a website listed. Perhaps the answer is to boost my own money by becoming a reseller in one of the unrepresented areas  ... Hmmmm.