Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first road trip

Today I am posting live from Akron/Ohio where E went to vote today (people were allowed to cast an early vote). As I mentioned before Illinois is already a done deal for Obama so E luckily got to vote in Ohio where he is originally from. As you probably know Ohio is a swing state and a vote can make a difference here. My mother in law had prepared and handed out a list to all the family members on which it stated who to vote for where (you don't just vote for the president, also for district attorney and all kinds of other stuff). For your info - the whole family voted for Obama (at least that's what they told each other but I have no reason to believe otherwise).

But voting was not the only reason we came down to Ohio. We actually drove here in a cargo van as we are here to pick up all the wedding presents which had been sent to E's parents as we didn't have an address back then. E also has some old furniture which we will bring back. It's not much but the more money we can save, the better. We even convinced E's mom to give us one of her old bookshelves.
To get here we went on a 6,5 hour roadtrip through Indiana and Ohio. Indiana is as flat as Holland and the parts I saw were not very exciting but then after 7 years in pancake country I don't get very excited over flat land. I had never seen Ohio in the fall and must admit I am amazed at how pretty Akron looks right now. One could almost think she was in Maine with those vivid shades of the changing leaves.

It took E and his family two hours to vote. The lines were really long. Apparently two hours is not even that long, in some places it can take even longer. Since I don't have the right to vote, I spent these two hours at the mall, looking for cheap furniture.

One thing I noticed in the US is the desperation with which sales people try and sell you stuff. I guess they work on provision much more than people in Europe do. I found some furniture at JC Penney's that I liked but when asking the sales guy if they had the goods on stock (since we are going back to Chicago tomorrow, we can't wait for two weeks in Ohio for something to be delivered), he said no. I asked him if he thought that they had the same goods on their website he said probably not and anyway - it would cost way more to have it delivered from their website and it won't even be assembled (I actually like to assemble furniture)! He then gave us his card (which I have noticed every furniture sales man/woman does). After I got back from the mall I checked the prices on the internet and the special offer today is actually free delivery for orders over 69 $ and of course they had the furniture we were looking for.

But even worse than furniture sales people are those little sales stands in the middle of the mall. They are not even shops, they are more like little tents and they sell stuff like little, ugly figurines or make up brands no one has ever heard of. They used to sell Proactive solution (anti-pimple stuff) on those stands but the stuff has gotten so popular that they now sell it in vending machines. They don't need sales people. P Diddy and Jennifer Lopez endorsing it made sales people unnecessary. That's what I call good marketing.

Anyway - getting back to the pushy sales people in the malls. I found out that the only way to not get sucked into their spiel is being plain rude. I first got approached by a tall, smily blonde "Hello! ..." she said, blocking my way to Macy's. I returned her hello with a sharp "I am not interested". I felt both bold and guilty for being so rude at the same time. The second one approached me right when I came out of Old Navy: "Hi! May I just aks you one question?" my answer to that was a short "No.". Now - I know these ladies are just doing their job, that's why I don't like to be rude to them but I have been a victim before. I was talked into buying a 30 $ no-name hand creme set which I was not interested in at all. She just wouldn't let me go. It was almost traumatic. And it started like this
Sales girl: "Hi, can I ask you for one minute of your time?"
A : "I am sorry but I really don't have time right now ..."
and the rest is a blur. I don't know how I ended up buying something I really didn't want. The only thing I do remember is the fact that she originally wanted to sell it to me for 50 $ and that she tried to make me feel like I talked her down 20 bucks which I know I didn't. I might be weak but I am not stupid.

So the one thing I did learn from living in Holland for 7 years is how to be rude enough so people will definitely not want to approach you anymore. However it did not teach me how to not feel bad about being rude to people. But I guess that just comes with practice.

By the way - a Halloween post is coming up once I am back in Chicago. I want to download some pictures from my camera but don't have my card reader here.


No comments: