Sucker Shopping

/ posted in: General

Yesterday I got caught in such a perfect storm of marketing and upselling that I had an out of body experience and just watched it all happen to me. Sometimes you just have to step back and marvel when you see a master at work.

I went into Teavana. I’d had samples of tea outside the store before but I’d never gone in. The samples were good but I’m not a hot tea drinker. Iced tea, yes, but hot tea always tastes like dirty hot water to me. But I was killing time so I went in.

There was nice music playing. I’m assuming it is filled with hypnotic subliminal messages telling me to buy stuff since I decided to buy some tea. The employees were busy so I browsed. I picked up a very pretty Japanese teapot from a ceiling high row of glass shelves. It was $80. I put it back. But the shelves started to sway. I calculated over $1000 of teapots on there and prayed it wouldn’t all crash. I found a cool mug with built in tea strainer that was so delicate that I would probably break it on the second use. $40. I decided to get a simple strainer to go in my own mug for $9.95. I walked up to the counter to get tea and that’s when it started.

The saleswoman said that it would get squished the second time I put it the drawer and I’d have to replace it so I might as well buy this tea maker for $17. It was a tea making gadget that is very cool and semi-magical so I agreed even though it only has one use so Alton Brown would not approve.

Then I asked for the tea in the sample pot out front. Turns out that of course it is a blend of two teas. She pulled down two round tins from the wall behind her and used the lids to waft the aromas of the teas to me. She asked if it was my first visit. I said yes even though it put a big bullseye on my forehead. She said that their teas never see daylight or air (poor things) and that is why they are good. So she’d get me some tins to keep my teas in the same austere conditions at home for $7 each. Of course they can’t be combined even though I bought them to blend. I realize now that I have tins at home but they must be pumping drugs through the air to cloud your good sense in addition to subliminal messaging.

She puts three scoops of tea in my tin and weighs it. She then tells me an obscene number. I say that I will never drink that much so she takes some out until we get a lesser but still obscene for me number. Then we repeat with tea two. I get printed out labels to explain how to make my blend.

I must have been starting to wake up because I managed not to buy a measuring spoon or a thermometer for the perfect water temp. I even was able to turn down the sugar that must have been handpicked by the gods because it was $22 a pound.

The tea was really good this morning though.

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I made a friend at lunch. I didn’t mean to. I was at a nursery minding my own business when another customer came up and asked if I had kids. That’s one of those questions that shouldn’t be hard but sort of is. It reminded me of people asking me if I was married when I was mid-divorce and I knew that if I said yes then for sure the words “my boyfriend” were going to come out of my mouth soon. Anyway, I said yes to the kid question. She put a stevia plant on my cart and said I had to buy it. (The sucker forehead mark from Teavana must still be visible.)

Then she asked if I had seen brussel sprouts. I said no but just then spotted some. She got all excited and started yelling, “You’re my new best friend! My new best friend! What’s your name, new best friend?”

“Uh, Heather?”

“Thanks New Best Friend Heather!!”

She went and bought her plants. On the way out she was yelling, “Bye New Best Friend Heather!!!”

I just smiled and waved.