"This is the best helmet on the market," said the fresh-faced, painfully young, terminally bored sales associate, clerk, retail assistant.
"But I’d really like to try on some others," replied my Perfect Partner.
"But it’s the best helmet on the market," she repeated, adding for emphasis, "I wear this helmet."
Okay, let’s be fair, it was Tuesday, the store wasn’t particularly crowded, the other extra-small size helmets weren’t within fingertip range, it was Tuesday… oh, wait a minute, did I already say that?
But, in a nutshell, that microexchange, that bit of commerce that didn’t take place once it became clear the personal shopping aide wasn’t going to expend the energy required to (a) listen to what her potential customer was saying, (b) go out of her way to offer alternatives, or (c) give a rat’s ass whether she made a sale or not, probably says more about the challenges ahead than Ed’s suggestion we put on a happy face and stop writing about contentious issues in the local media.
Ed is Ed Pitoniak. Until a couple of years ago Ed was the exec in charge of Wicked Cool Ideas at the MotherCorp. I think his job description read something along the lines, "Think up really wickedly cool things we can do to attract and entertain guests while they’re at our resorts." I was envious of Ed’s job description, even though he worked like a plowhorse and was so well known on some airlines they had a seat with his name on it.
In fact, even though he’s been gone for a couple of seasons, Ed’s still on my top five list of guys I’ll drop what I’m doing any time to go have a refreshing beverage with and discuss life, business, the ills of the world or whether Soylent Green was a more accurate depiction of mankind’s future than, say, Star Wars .
And to be both honest and fair to the man, I didn’t hear his speech last week at the Chamber of Commerce Spirit luncheon. (Is luncheon a really weird word or is it just me this morning?) I would have gone to the mid-day meal event (even weirder) but for the fact that 24 hours earlier my very gentle, very skilled dentist – gratuitous plug for Dr. Jay – hooked the winch from his Jeep up to a molar in my mouth and tugged ‘til it popped out, leaving me with a hole too small for a full-sized cigar but large enough to leak soup, coffee and pretty much anything else I put in there for a day or two afterward, activity you should definitely avoid when attending a CofC noon meal event. (I give up.)