17 July 2008

The Saddest Thing I've Ever Heard

Yesterday, a woman showed up in our office trying to sell a $50 spa package. ($400 worth of spa treatments for $50! How could you say no?) She told me all about the Swedish massage and pedicures and facials and whatever else, and then looked at me expectantly, as if there was no possible way anyone in their right mind could pass up this opportunity. I shrugged and said, "I really don't have $50 to spend on pedicures right now."

Her face fell. "What?" She legitimately looked upset. I wondered if she hadn't considered the fact that to some people, pedicures don't have the same budget priority as say, food.

As I do, I tried to make a joke to lighten things up. "Yeah," I said, "I guess I'll have to stick to my noxema facials."

The woman stared at me. "Noxema?" she asked. "That is the saddest thing I've ever heard."

And this is where she lost me, forever, as a potential client. Because though it must be awfully nice to live in a world where the saddest thing you've EVER heard isn't about the crappy economy or mass extinction or AIDS babies or the department of health and human services's attempt to redefine contraception as abortion or any of a thousand other awful, heartbreaking stories are playing out, simultaneously, right now, but about NOXEMA & how sad (but not dirty) poor people still use it to wash their faces, I really don't think that I could ever let such a woman slather ground-up seaweed and mud all over my face. Because honestly? If I'm going to drop $50 on a mani/pedi, I want that money to support a real human member of the global community, and not a Facial Barbie who can't even be bothered to read google news headlines from inside her DreamSpa.

It's hard to be poor, but I'd like to think that it's even harder to be vapid.

Ah, who am I kidding? That lady gets to have great skin and never worry about polar bears falling through the disappearing ice! What do I get, self-righteousness & generalized anxiety about the state of the world? Sign me up, Barbie DreamSpa!