When tough cookies go soft

I was walking through the mall a couple weeks ago past the kiosks where the very nice Israeli men are always wanting to buff your nails for you. Not all of nails… just one.

“Oh, no thank you. I already have 2 of these nail sets at home” I told him.

“Oh! That’s wonderful! … Wait, are those your real nails? Can I see your hand for just a moment?”


I may have the nail stuff but I realized real fast he was selling skin care. I had just done my very effective facial the day before, purging my entire face of every possible unwelcome impurity or otherwise, so I was feeling pretty sure I’d be back on my way to shop at Gap within 30 seconds.


After a salt scrub to show impurities coming off my clean hands and a mask done on the inside of my wrist, he laid out all the products I never wanted and offered me a super special deal because I was a return customer.

I was headed to Gap 10 minutes ago. How am I standing here derailed getting a wrist scrub? One wrist.

“Let me think about it and I’ll be back at the mall tomorrow.” That’s laughable to a salesman.

“Are you a model?” he asked. That is laughable to me. For a split second I debated asking if he had something that could remove the zebra tube dress of stretch marks that exists from 6 inches below my breasts through the 9 inches above my knees, but I decided to hold that one to myself and let him teach me about the Dead Sea for a minute.

I must be fairly friendly because he said, “I know that you will tell me the truth… what is holding you back from buying this today?”

He was right. I speak truth. “I don’t want all these products” I told him. “I will get home and forget how to use them & when.” I explained that I only use vaseline, warm water & a washcloth on my face. That is all i have the mental capacity for in the morning. Or ever. I loved the look on his face when I said that.  What does that cost me, like, $10 a year?

He informed me that there was a lightened place on my skin. Really? He picked up a mirror to show me. “oh no…no i dont want to see….” I stepped backwards and shied away. I’m sure the away movement was the total opposite effect of what he intended.

He said that because we were becoming friends by now and wanted to tell me his real name. I’m sure he thought I would appreciate that and it might make it harder for me to say no to his next sales offer. He helped me say his name a few times and get my Rs successfully rolling and I softened up a bit… until he tried to sell me more. I flat out denied any hope for purchase to my new friend and he bent over laughing, put his hands over his face and said “ahhhh! You are a tough cookie!”

I had to be. Little did he know it was payday and my family’s entire cash envelope system of survival for the next 2 weeks was freshly counted & divided in my purse.

It would be kind of hard to explain to the kids that mommy had a lightened place on her face that required special lotions and that if they would just hang in there, my skin would be more even toned and my pores smaller in just three months. Also, our dinner this month will be ramen-noodle-this and ramen-noodle-that.

He wanted to educate me. I get it. His skin, absolutely beautiful. Why wouldn’t I believe a man who carries toner in his backpack so he can use it midday, right?

Then he lowered the boom and told me he those few lights spots on my face inhale pollution.

Excuse me?


Pollution into my face?

I blankly stared at him but behind my eyes a reel of images raced. A nuclear smoke stack, Al Gore’s face, my pores opening like funnels and dirt flying into them with vacuum force.

I bought that skin cream so fast your head would spin. Damaged box 75% off what my new friend was initially thinking I was willing to part ways with.

Satisfaction danced over our heads.

“You are gonna be back here in three months hugging me and thanking me!” he said. We’ll see my friend. Don’t count your chickens yet.


~ by hthr on October 9, 2011.

3 Responses to “When tough cookies go soft”

  1. haaa! great story…. not the ending i expected – you cracked! 🙂

  2. haha ha! Part of the reason I avoid the mall is those kiosk guys!!! The other one that might get me is the hair wand sales girl and proactive. I’m such a sucker.

  3. Oh Heather. I really hoped through that whole story that you would be strong! Because I…. am not. Which is why I have a $50 chopper/slicer/grater/spinner on my counter right now. Couldn’t say no to the persuasive demo man at Kroger. If you can’t say no, how is there any hope for me? 🙂

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