Tuesday, December 13, 2011

there's one born every minute

The other day I paid $120 for lotion and $67 for tea. Sure, it'll all get doled out into various stockings and whatnot, but, c'mon, 120 bills for cold cream?

I must confess, I have an affliction. I cannot engage with a samples hander-outer and not get sucked in. If I try it, I buy it. I'm a marketer's dream. I fall for everything: the hand-severed, organically grown aloe vera planted in harmony with the stage of the moon speech. The, I'll-throw-in-five-bottles-for-free spiel. I even fell for the: not just any container will do, line. The claim that necessitates the purchase of a vacuum-sealed canister to house 8 oz of oolong. Really? We're not talking pot ... it's just, well, tea!

I sign up for stuff, give out my email, engage with solicitors over the phone and I think I'm on six different Greenpeace lists. And why? Because I've somehow crept through a half-century of life without a solid battle plan. I completely lack savvy and skepticism when it comes to engaging with the hucksters of the world.

Here's a correlative: when I was six years old, I introduced the cat to my gerbil (actually, I think it was my sister's gerbil). After watching a Disney flick where a great Dane nursed a bunny rabbit, I believed in the Disneyesque goodness of all creatures. Like Cindy Lou Who to the Grinch, I held up the eviscerated rodent to the smiling feline whilst rubbing sleep from my eye and asked, "But why did you chew up our little pet, why?"

Now, I'm not above posting a scathing Google review when I get bilked by a charlatan--it's just that, well, I'm a patsy by nature, and I never learn. I'm a believer. I want to wholeheartedly embrace the notion that my fingernails will be as strong as Teflon, and those new tires will keep me accident free, and that knee exercise dvd will make me a black diamond skier. So I shell out the cash. I sign the forms. I take the frequent buyer card and cram it into my torn and bulging wallet and stride off, trying really, really hard to avoid eye contact with the mall carnies who dot my path with their gold and silver trays of samples.

The real solution though? I just need to stay home with my headphones on and my phone in the silent mode.

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