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So you want to know me?

Hi! Welcome to Banana Republic. Would you like a bag to use while you shop?

The holiday shopping had only begun and I could already sense the energy of it. I have never been a big fan of store greeters. Seems a bit too sugary and demands my attention when all I want to do is get in and get out. I used to find pleasure in an occasional shopping trip but that fizzled years ago. Now I have become a little more male in my shopping – a hunter. The greeters are obstacles.

Did you find everything you were looking for?… if I say no and explain that they never have enough size smalls, will they listen? Will they care? Or will they just nod their head?… Yes I did thanks.

Can I have your email address? No thanks. Do you need a bag? Do you have another ID? Would you like to open a Banana Republic card and save 20%? Any cash back? Questions… questions… questions.

Hi!  Welcome to Under Armour.

Did you find everything ok? Receipt printed or emailed to save our planet (or something to that effect)? I hear those around me spouting their email addresses in order to be green. Does anyone, I mean anyone, truly believe that the email address will only be used for the receipt and not to send you a new email every single day, every day of the year for the rest of your life?  Yes please send me emails as I don’t seem to get enough!

Hi! Welcome to J Crew. This is exhausting and I have only bought 5 gifts so far. Can I have your name? Wow!  Now that was a new one. I pause. I am only buying a $12 pair of panties that promise no lines and you want to know my name?  That seems a little too intimate. Uh, no.

But it doesn’t stop with the human questions. Whenever I swipe my card to pay for groceries, a small machine asks no less than 5 or 6 questions, while those behind me in line shift from one hip to the other. And just as I think I am done and turn to put the bags in the cart, the checker points to the screen and asks if I want to donate $1 to St. Judes. Everyone watches as I say no. Ugh.

Do you want a car wash? What is your zip code? Are you a “member”? What is your pin? Did you take a shower today?… that one I made up but I feel it coming.

Know your customer. Isn’t that the mantra for retail? So they gather data. Statistics to help them sell more. I think Amazon even knows what time I go to bed. Questions… questions… questions to learn who I am. To sum me up, to predict my next step.

But they (by the way there is no ‘they’, but that is for another writing) will never know ‘me’. They will learn all they can about Sarah but ‘I’  have no statistics. ‘I’ actually need nothing. ‘I’ am just the observer to  this new trend in shopping. ‘I’ cannot be labeled or placed on a graph. ‘I’ am centered and unchanging.

The only way to know ‘me’ is to look deep into my eyes and see my soul. Hold my hand for a while, or hug me so close you can  feel my heartbeat. Sit and lean against me. The questions are outside noise. It is in the silence that you will hear me.

A man in front of me in line the other day looked at the checker as she finished ringing and said “yes, yes, yes”.  She looked confused so he explained.  Yes I need a bag, yes I want a receipt and yes I am a member”. He has noticed too. I smiled.

Going within to be with me,
SARAH

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