In my never-ending quest to "girlify," I'm trying to turn our summer cottage into my own private B&B. (Meanwhile, hubby is saying he wants a moose or deer head--ANYTHING--just to make the place more MANLY. HA! There will be NO taxidermy in any abode where I'm living!)

So there we were, with one very expensive piece of molding for the Victorian hallway we're recreating in our cottage hide-away. A very SHORT hallway. The paint was over $40 (and wall prep was $12). The embossed wallpaper (only going up half the wall) was another $50. At 8 feet long, the molding was about 2 inches short of what we needed. There was a piece of the same molding three feet long. Weee! Said we! We're go for liftoff, Houston!

Until we got to the check-out line.

Why is it that a store that boasts (with big banners) ASK ANY ASSOCIATE FOR DETAILS fails to tell you that every associate you ask a question of will say, "I don't work in this department." And will they tell you who does? "He's (or she's) not here today," appears to be the standard answer.

Also, why is it that young girls of 16 or so have to be so vapid? Did the girl on the register with the pierced nose lose her brains when the needle connected with her nostril, or was she just born that way? ("Congratulations, Mom and Dad, you're got a bouncing baby bimbo!")

We'd like to buy this piece of molding. She scans it. "That'll be $17.99." But the 8 foot piece of molding is $17.99. This is only three feet. "Oh." Long wait. The penny doesn't drop. "Then we can't sell it." Why can't you sell it at a reduced price? "Because we can't do that." Why not? "Because we don't sell small pieces of molding." But obviously someone else bought the other five feet. "Oh. But that shouldn't have happened." But it did. "Oh. Well, we can't sell it. We're not allowed to put prices on stuff." Is there someone in the store who can? "Um. Maybe."

So she calls for assistance. None arrives. She asks four other employees for the "secret" code that will pull in the ONE manager in the store who CAN price something odd. He never arrives. Finally, some other employee who actually has two neurons to rub together comes to the register. (A woman.) She doesn't want to assign a price, either. Because they have a lot of RULES and REGULATIONS about putting prices on things that aren't in the computer.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't a retail establishment IN BUSINESS to SELL STUFF to people?

"Yes, but it's all very complicated."

We don't want to buy 8 more feet of molding when we only need an extra two inches. Isn't there a way to get around this?

"Oh, the heck with it." She whips out her calculator, figures out the cost per foot and authorizes us to buy it.


All this took more than ten minutes. All the while everyone who came in line after us got EXTREMELY ANNOYED and flounced off in a huff to another register.

Whatever happened to customer service?

Every time a customer makes a purchase in my upcoming novel, MURDER IS BINDING, each one of them is THANKED for shopping at my bookstore, Haven't Got A Clue, and the proprietor MEANT it.

Why can't it be like that in real life?

Cottage_hallway Meanwhile, here's what the finished project looks like.

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