Yesterday I went shopping. It’s been raining in Seattle for about a year now and when I get depressed I need to buy something sparkly.
I hate Macy’s. I hate them for being big and for gobbling up all the local department stores. The Bon Marche’ USED to be where Macy’s now stands. But dang if their selection and prices aren’t good. So I decided to buy some socks. Sparkly socks. We’re talking a $12.00 purchase. The employee without even looking up at me scanned the price tag with her little gun and asked me if I was going to use my Macy’s charge card for the purchase. No, I’ll be paying cash. Then, right on cue, “I can save you 15% if you open a Macy’s account.” You know the drill.

Me: No thank you.

Her: (overcoming my objections) Are you sure? The 15% applies to all your purchases in the store today.

Me: I don’t use credit cards.

Her: (overcoming my objections) Well you could just open it, charge your stuff and then pay it off when the bill comes!

Me: Leave me the hell alone. I just want these sparkly socks!! I don’t care about your sales goals!!! (okay — I didn’t say that but don’t you just want to?)

It’s no wonder American’s are saddled with an average of $8000.00 per household in unsecured debt. These credit card pushers are everywhere! I crossed the street to use a gift card at Best Buy. I bought a movie. With my gift card the movie was going to cost me $9.99 plus tax. But, according to the checker this purchase “qualified” me for a free trial subscription to a crappy magazine (US, Entertainment, etc — which were all fanned out on the counter so you couldn’t help but touch them).

Me: No thank you.

Him: (overcoming my objections) Do you already subscribe to these magazines?

Me: Why would I tell you that — I’m only in here because someone gave me a gift card. I didn’t come here to fill my mailbox with crap!! I already have enough of that coming to my house now! PLUS — I know what a trial subscription means. You give it to me free and then you send me a bill in six weeks hoping I’ll pay it.
(god I wish I could be that mean — I really said no thank you, I’m not interested, avoiding eye contact).

Him: May I have your phone number?

Me: (are you kidding?) Gave him a fake one.

Then I’m off to Target. Yes, I call it “tar-jay” and I do love that store. But even THEY went to the same aggressive sales and service class and every time I buy anything there I am offered the Target charge card (which I already have but never use — I just succumbed the first time they asked me).
I heard of a car lot that lets their customers wear a button that says “just looking” if they so choose. Then when they want to be bugged, they hand the button to a car salesman. I propose that consumers band together and create a series of buttons that shield us from these awful techniques.

Button Number One: Bad Credit Risk

Button Number Two: PMS

Button Number Three: Frequent shopper and cash payer

Button Number Four: Already got me — I have the card, paid it off, you made your sales goal, I’ve earned the right to be left alone to pay cash for my purchases.
Have a nice day.

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