I hate to shop and I really, really hate to shop at the mall.  For me a trip to the mall is a clear sign of desperation indicating that I had put off shopping for the item until the last minute.  I try to resist the false societal pressures of buying presents for holiday’s conceived by some marketing genius. But in the end the pressure is insurmountable and I’m forced to acquiesce.  One such holiday is Mother’s Day. Now I think that all children should make nice cards with crayons and macaroni designs glued to paper plates for their Mothers.  But that’s it; it’s the love and the thought that counts.  How did husbands get roped into springing for yet another present for their wife on Mother’s Day?   

I’ll tell you how, it was some Jewelry Store Marketing executive that started with these commercials, showing the perfect family and the loving husband and the cute children. They are gathered around a MILF of a mother and are opening the presents the kid’s made for Mom, you know the macaroni dish and the home made cards.  Then, unexpectedly, Dad surprises Mom with a $1,000 dollar diamond necklace and she gives him a look that says yes, he’s her man and yes, you will be getting some tonight. 

 So I waited until the last minute to buy my wife a Mother’s Day present and I threw myself at the mercy of the mall.  I had spotted a pair of earrings in a store circular that had been mailed to my home. They were originally priced at $400 dollars, on sale, just for Mother’s Day, to $150 dollars.  Fist of all how would most children afford a $400 dollar piece of jewelry for Mother’s Day?  They can’t even afford macaroni for the stupid plate design. Clearly this is indented to put pressure on us Dads but I had resigned myself to grab this bargain.   I ran into the store and headed straight to the jewelry counter, unfortunately, it was mobbed.  Apparently the regular jewelry person was on lunch break and no one seemed to be filling in for her.  A swarm of customers were trying in vain to get the attention of anyone with a store badge on.  I snagged a store supervisor who tried to walk by me and I asked for help.  Immediately, three other customers came over to see if they could get waited on as well. She explained that this wasn’t her department but she would send someone over.  Eventually a clerk did come, but she quickly scanned the glass case of jewelry and announced that they didn’t have the earrings that I was looking for. I asked “Can you look under the counter? It’s an advertised special and you should have them”.  After a cursory glance she said that they weren’t there either but if I wanted to wait until the regular clerk got back she was sure that she would be happy to assist me.  The crowd was turning into a mob and I decided to see if another store had similar earrings.   

I couldn’t find anything similar to the ones advertised and certainly nothing close in price. So hoping that the crowd had thinned and the regular clerk was back, I headed back to the original store. The crowd had thinned; I assumed from frustration. I asked the clerk if she would please call another store to locate a pair of earrings for me.  She informed me that they didn’t provide that service on busy days but I could call the 800 number on the back of the flier.  By this point I had had it and walked out to my car, mumbling to myself. 

I called the number and waited the obligatory five minutes for the pleasure of speaking to a live representative. I told her my story and she proceeded to ask which item I was interested in ordering. I said “Hold it, I was told you would try to locate a store in the area that has a pair of earrings for me and you’re taking an order?”  She said she it was her job to take orders and it would cost $18 dollars for delivery and it would take ten to fourteen days to get the earrings.  I explained I was directed to call this number for assistance and she said “That’s not right, I would complain to the store manager.” I went back into the store and found the smiling man, walking around in the suit, with the badge that said “Store Manager”.  He looked just like his picture in the foyer. He apologized for the inconvenience and assigned someone to assist me. You should have seen all the helpful clerks who appeared out of no where politely assisting customers in front of the manager. 

The now attentive clerk printed out a listing of all the stores that had the earrings in stock.  She said “Well it says we have a pair here but you can never trust this information when it is less than two items.”  I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t have any in stock because I had already been assured by three other clerks that they didn’t have them.  What shocked me was the fact that they ran an ad and circulated it to untold thousands of households and had only stocked one pair of earrings.  Everyone sucked into the store by the low priced come on would be forced to make another, more expensive selection. Can you say bait and switch?  As we were discussing which store in the tri-state area I could go to next to try and find a pair of the advertised earrings I stopped in mid-sentence and stared in disbelief. The earrings in question were right there in the glass counter we were leaning on. She verified that they were the correct ones but informed me that I couldn’t get the sale price until tomorrow.  I told her I was disappointed in the service I had received to this point and that I had 45 minutes invested in these earrings.  I stared at her intently and said “If you think I’m leaving without these earrings I promise you I will start screaming and I won’t stop until Father’s Day”. In consideration for all I had been through, she kindly allowed me to purchase the earrings at the sales price and wished me a happy Mother’s Day. You have got to be freak’n kidding me!