Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still Cranky After a Week-long Absence, So I Thought I'd Write Something

God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another.
                                                                                                     -Hamlet  (3.1)

Our church wants to put together a directory with pictures of all the people who attend services. They’ve been asking all attendees to schedule a photography session at the church. I wouldn’t have bothered, but the Boss wants me to play nice with others, something that I just don’t do so well. We scheduled an appointment. The Mom & Pop business taking the pictures prints one free directory for each family that gets a picture taken (additional directories are $10 each), and then tries to sell portrait packages. Those packages are incredibly expensive. The woman selling the packages assumed that we were buyers. She never bothered to ask us if we wanted to purchase pictures. We sat down to pick the pose for the directory, but she started writing and processing an order that we were not going to place. It was odd. Of course, she started the entire process by explaining how they printed the directories for free, as if we had an obligation to purchase their product, and then acted completely surprised when I told her that we weren’t buying. She almost looked offended. Guilt is simply not an effective sales technique. At least, not with me. I’m a fairly unsympathetic bastard where salesmen are concerned, which is why the Boss looked at me and asked, “What do you think?” She knew I’d say “no, thank you,” and she wouldn’t have to. We have good teamwork on stuff like that. One of the selling points of this business was their touch-up services. They are quite adept at removing all character from a person’s face, making their customers look plastic. Wrinkles give people character. Ladies, crow’s feet and laugh lines are sexy. Stop trying to cover them. In one of their sample photos, they removed a drooping eye lid from a grandmotherly woman and created a face that simply was not in the original photograph. I don’t know how the subject of the photograph felt about the finished product, but if their prices didn’t guarantee that I didn’t buy anything, their touch-up services did.

"Do not lie in a ditch, and say God help me; use the lawful tools He hath lent thee."
                                                                                         - English Proverb

The Subway in our Wal*mart is 30 feet from the store’s produce section, so you can imagine my surprise when I went into the shop for a sandwich and was told by a young kid behind the counter that they were completely out of lettuce. How difficult would it have been for him to run over, buy a head of lettuce, wash it, chop it, and put it on a sandwich? There’s probably some law somewhere preventing him from taking that initiative, if he thought of it at all. It would have taken a dollar from the till, but brought in much more in sales. I briefly thought about buying a head of lettuce, handing it to the kid, and saying, “Here’s some lettuce. Now, making my f---ing sandwich.” Instead, I played nice, bit my tongue, and simply left. Honestly, playing well with others is boring.

"You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk."
"Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock, are ugly and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning I, Winston Churchill, will be sober.”
                                                                                           – Winston Churchill

I’m in mourning. I’ve had a loss in my life. Mayonnaise. My foot-long turkey breast on Italian bread was boring without mayonnaise. It made the long drive from Wal*mart to a different Subway quite disappointing. Last week, I returned to Weight Watchers after a year-long absence and a return of all the weight I previously lost. When my pants stopped fitting I knew I had to either lose the weight or buy more clothes. I opted for the former. I told my new meeting leader that I didn’t want to hear any insults directed towards men in general, towards me, or towards my weight loss. I wanted genuine assistance during those weeks where weight loss doesn’t go so well, not mocking ridicule. If she could play by those rules, we’d get along fine. This woman was a bit taken back both by the story I told her about my previous meeting leader and my blunt, direct manner; but, she agreed. I lost 5.5 pounds this past week, and put back on my favorite pair of cargo shorts without playing origami with my belly fat . Apparently, the difference between a size 38 and a size 40 (in pants) is the difference between weighing 243 and 238, but I have an overwhelming desire dive naked into a vat of mayonnaise and swim around for awhile. I’ll play nice, and keep the pictures private.


Linda said...

Where do I begin?
1.) Regain control: This was one of those posts that resulted in uncontrollable, coffee-spewing laughter.

2.) About Church photo directories: We had the EXACT same experience. Those women are amazing in their boldness. I heard several people say they walked out having bought a package they didn't even realize they were buying. Many folks from our church have told our leadership that if we ever do a directory again, they won't participate. And I hope you're right about crow's feet cause I'm gettin' some pretty big ones!! (Ironically, I was just noticing in my current FB profile pic just how pronounced my crow's feet have become lately. And was feeling just a tad insecure about it!) :-)

3.) Walmart Subway/Lettuce: LOL...that's all...just LOL!

4.) Weight Loss & Mayonnaise: Thanks for playing nice. And I really mean that.

Becky said...

Hi Arby ~ We just went thru the "pictorial directory nightmare" recently, as well. My daughters insisted that we all wear WHITE shirts, blue jeans and be barefooted... thinking that it would look good for our "Free" photo that we would recieve. I look HORRIBLE in white, but... like you say.. "I played nice". Well... as you probably know... the "free" photo background is already picked for you -- you know, the traditional "blue" one! And the "other" shots that the photographer takes are NOT the "free" ones! The salesman tried his best to sell us a photo "package", but they ARE very expensive! So, we walked away with only getting our free one. It arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and as I expected... I HATE IT!! ~ Oh well.

I love your Subway/Walmart story! We have a friend that owns lots of Subways, here in our town - including at least one in a Walmart! I'll have to ask him what they do if they run out of a vegetable product. You have me curious, now! LOL

Congrat's on getting back on the weightloss rollercoaster. I wish you much success! :)

Papa Bear said...

Good work! At Subway, I sometimes choose mustard instead of mayo--it has zero calories. At home, I prefer Miracle Whip light: 20 calories a tablespoon. I usually only use a teaspoon on a sandwich made with regular-size bread. Even on a hoagie, I wouldn't need more than a tablespoon. If you round off, that's zero points. (Weight watchers calls it 1 point, because most of the calories are from fat, but a calorie is a calorie.) If you feel you have to account for everything, you could have THREE TABLESPOONS, nearly 1/4 cup, for one point.

I went back and read your older post about Weight Watchers. I've never been part of an official WW group, but Mama Bear was in one provided by her employer. When her employer dropped the program, she decided to continue the plan at home. She asked me and one of her close friends to follow it as well for moral support and accountability. We did. One part of the plan, as she used it, was that every week, we were supposed to weigh in, and give a weight-loss tip: something that was working for us. Every time I gave a tip, (like the one above about Miracle Whip light, or that, if I went over my points for the day, I would try to limit how far over I went) her friend would object that my tip was no good and wouldn't work. Every week, she confessed to not following the plan one or more days, and when she went over her points for the day, she would give up and pig out. Yet she was also frustrated, even angry, that I was losing weight, and she wasn't.

L. said...

YEAH, you're back! Oh my gosh, Arby, that's one of your funniest blogs. Loved it!!

You want a boring sammich? Try a b-u-tee-full BLT with no mayo. BORE-ing! BUT, it's only 2 points.

Congrats on taking up the weight issue again. Good for you!!!

specialneedshomeschool said...

I'm new here! I literally laughed out loud at the photographers ability to take all character out of the face. I know that all to well because people ask me to do that all the time in photoshop. I'm completely convinced a hundred years from now people are going to look back at our pictures and wonder who these faceless drones of just eyes, nose, and mouth were and think we were all a robotic race. LOL
~Jen B

Brownie said...

That's funny about the lettuce!

I hate photo church directories, too. I would have no problem saying no. But here is how are church does it: Renee stands be at the back of the church door as people are leaving. Grabs families and aims her digital camera and says SMILE!! She prints them up binds them together - and there's our directory. Although it is easier when we have only about 50 people (including infants) in our church.

I dislike people trying to guilt me into buying something: I don't feel guilty I just get very irritated.

To Linda - I think your FB photo is lovely.

TobyBo said...

"crow's feet and laugh lines are sexy" - no wonder I love your blog. :)

and congrats on being back with WW. It works for me. (another mustard user.) :)

Michelle said...

Its a good thing I wasn't taking a drink-I definitely would have spit it out.

I was visualizing you in a speedo in a vat of mayo. Thank goodness for no photos-I don't like men in speedos!

Good luck with the weight loss! I'm so glad its turned out better than before!

GingerB said...

To heck with all this supportiveness - how is it that you can lose that much in one week?? You do realize that women will follow WW diligently and lose one pound at best (or gain), to your five and a half. I'm going to send you some mayo. It's a good thing you made me laugh, or I'd send something even more plump inducing.

Linda said...

Thank you, Ginger, I was thinking the same thing!

As a photographer, thank you Arby!! Many years ago, we had a group shot done at church by a photog. hired to shoot my daughter's First Communion. We received the image, post editing, and I sent it back. "My parents are old. They should look it. My husband did NOT wear eyeliner that day, and my seven year old daughter never wears that shade of lipstick."
What was he thinking!! Unless you ask, I do not change the appearance of a person. (except blemishes... isn't it nice to get rid of zits?)
That said, I am hoping to shoot our parish directory this year. (we've never had one) I probably won't make a dime, since I'm not pushy. But we'll all be happier, right? ;)

Oklahoma Granny said...

It must be the church directory season because we just had ours done. We wouldn't have purchased a photo but it was an important marriage anniversary this year and so I did agree to buy a very small, overpriced package. Honestly, they were pretty good photos. However, the company that did the work is one that you would recognize if I mentioned their name. My complaint was that the company or their employees one tried to take advantage of several of the older folks in our church. These folks paid for their photos up front but the photos arrived C.O.D.! I think everything was finally worked out but to try to take advantage of older folks - how Christian is that!

jugglingpaynes said...

I'm like your wife. I hate to say no. I'm too nice. So I defer all decisions to my husband, the former customer service rep for a cruise line. He's had more practice saying no. :o)

Peace and Laughter,

Mrs. Mandy said...

I love all your stories, just what I need after my children finish toying with mommy for the day effectivly rendering my memory useless! I have awarded you The Versatile Blogger Award. Enjoy flaunting it you deserve it!
Mrs. Mandy

Kathleen said...

I've been through the same rigamarole with those church picture taking people. Didn't give in. I was proud of myself.

I'm sure it never even crossed the Subway kid's mind.

Congrats on the weight loss!