Wednesday April 23 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

Media Knots

So tired of the panty-twisting the media in this country engages in every time the private life of a Conservative politician spills over into public space.

None of the rest of us are accorded private lives by the media so I’m not sure why governing politicians, whose lifestyles we subsidize to the tune of 100%, should be the exception.

Mrs. Harper publicly bitch-slapped a stray cat benefit gala crasher for having the audacity to suggest that there are bigger priorities in Canada on which she should be focusing her considerable power and privilege.

I mean, if you can’t account for yourself to a member of the paying public without losing your cool, maybe you should re-think your priorities.

Whatever. I’m not clear on why the incident shouldn’t be reported. Or is it just that Mrs. Harper didn’t come off so well that the media feels obliged to begin its panty-twisting.

Meanwhile, Ben Harper, son of, apparently had a teenaged beer drinking party at 24 Sussex Drive on the weekend to which the police and then an ambulance were called.

We may nod our heads, been there, done that, no biggie, shit happens – to my sisters (not me, I was a teenaged wallflower) – but, again, I’m not clear on why it shouldn’t be reported. I’m even less clear on the panty-twisting later, although I guess the satirical press let the drunken cat out of the bag on this one – so now the rest of the media can point fingers and twist panties at the same time.

I mean, we live in Harper Canada, ya panty-twisting prudeycakes. The RCMP Chief just had a letter printed in the Ottawa Citizen attacking a very temperate column in the Ottawa Citizen by Stephen Maher (re lack of charges against Nigel Wright for bribing a sitting member of Parliament) and claiming that the RCMP doesn’t have to answer to the PMO – that he would have had to clear with PMO censors as per Harper government policy first!

Sure, it’s really a public apology to the officers involved in the case, disguised as an attack on Stephen Maher for mildly wondering at its outcome, but still, the RCMP is supposed to work for us, not the PMO (who really must not be very bright if they didn’t see through that letter to the public apology that it is).

I mean, do they think we didn’t hear Mike Duffy when he says he was bribed, given hush money, monstrous scheme, hatched, PMO, yadda yadda blah blah?

Hard to believe we’re paying for all this, isn’t it.

Oh, and heard via the Facebook grapevine that police are beyond frustrated with the fact that the Fords haven’t been charged with anything, especially given the fact that Rob Ford has been under investigation since before he was even mayor, and for shit a lot more serious than drugs.

It’s been a year and two months since Jaclyn Dawe went missing, by the way, her car abandoned in front of one of the Etobicoke residences associated with Rob Ford’s gang.

Harper Canada – there’s no life like it if you’re a member of the Conservative Party, I guess.




To Catch a Thief

My goodness. While I was at work hawking ladieswear someone blocked me on Twitter, irate about this tweet:

Yes life’s unfair, Mrs. Harper, but if your priority for 8 years is gonna be housing for stray cats, maybe expect a heckler or 2?

All I know about Twitter is how to send snappy one-liners out into cyber-space and that they should be 127 characters, not 140, so that people can retweet them.

Or something. Anyway, I do it for me. It’s wordplay, really, and a fun challenge to puzzle away at a brain fart until it’s “good enough”.

Just kidding. I go for perfect. That’s why I haven’t written a book yet. Alistair MacLeod already used “All of us are better when we’re loved” and I’ve been at the drawing board ever since.

Thanks a lot – not! – Alistair MacLeod, if that even is your real name.

Anyway, while someone was busy blocking me on Twitter, I was busy at work, helpless, while a customer stole a dress.

Or, at least, I’m pretty sure a customer stole a dress. Our store doesn’t have theft tags in the clothes, we don’t monitor bags going in and out of dressing rooms, it’s assumed everyone’s on the up and up, which I appreciate, but we’re also supposed to keep an eye out for shoplifting.

I’m just not sure how when customers are going in and out of dressing rooms with big bags and clothes that don’t have theft tags in them (and it’s my favourite feature of the store that they don’t, so I’d hate for that to change).

Well, we actually bring the clothes to them, with the odd customer doing a self-serve thing because she’s like that, but even then they can end up with a fair number of items in the dressing room that we’re more or less keeping track of so that we don’t bring them the same item twice.

Also, so that we’ll notice if something goes in that doesn’t come out.

The thing is, I’m only pretty sure she stole a dress because I remember hanging it on the back of the door for her to try on, but when I checked the dressing room (to hang up unwanted items, but also do an eye check for any that might have disappeared into bags) it wasn’t there. So I did what we’re supposed to do, which is give her a chance to return the item I suspected she was on her way out the door with, by offering her something else to try on (steal?) making significant eye contact all the while.

Later, I thought about the flaw in that plan since it would hardly look like the first item hadn’t been tucked into a bag if it were then left hanging in a dressing room along with the new item, but more on that later.

Also, she had just finished modeling an outfit that I picked out for her, a skirt and top, and it looked amazing. She was good-looking, Russian, I think, complete with Russian spy accent, but in spite of the outfit looking amazing on her, she didn’t buy it.

It’s the sort of store where women buy outfits that look amazing on them. It just is. We have browsers (we hate browsers because they fuck up our conversion rate, i.e. customer —> service —> purchase) but once she tries it on, we’ve either got a purchaser (even if it just looks okay) or we don’t, because the outfit didn’t make it to even just okay.

It’s the outfit, remember, not the customer, that’s to blame. (Just kidding, it’s always the customer’s fault, you’re just not supposed to say it out loud when she’s still in the store. The fact that a bunch of private equity firm suits are deciding what’s what for whom and everything’s made in a one size fits all factory in China is your fault, customer, since you’re the one supporting the whole shell game with your hard-earned tax dollars.)

I’m not so honest that I would tell someone who wants to buy something that doesn’t look good on her not to buy it, but I can tell who wants/needs a head’s up that there are other outfits/other stores. And, of course, the option of going home and bagging a shitload of clothes for me to pick over at the Sally Ann, which will serve the dual purpose of also revealing forgotten outfits ready-for-wear in her closet.

It’s tricky. Because chances are she wants to buy the outfit whether it looks even just okay or not. And who am I to judge?

I mean, look around.

But this outfit looked so amazing on our thief that I called in the manager on duty (she can always be relied on to sell the outfit and then some because she’s a pro and knows that our customers want the whole enchilada, scarves, jewelry, shoes, bags, cardigans, coats, hats, gloves – to go with a skirt and top) to seal the deal.

Business was terrible last night, although our conversion rate was excellent because everybody who was shopping was buying.

Except for the odd thief, of course.

That manager, the one I worked with last night, is leaving and I can’t tell you how much it’s going to change the store. As much as I’ll miss her (I have never, ever, witnessed a person not lose her cool the way she didn’t at a total asshole of a customer once, she’s like the 8th wonder of the world – army-style, which I appreciate because I’m a bit obsessive compulsive about tight corners on folded clothes, too) it’s going to be fun watching the other managers and sharks (that’s what I call a couple of my colleagues who are un-fucking-believable salespeople) vie for supremacy on the floor – nobody bothering with tight corners on folded clothes because they don’t really believe that looks matter at all.

My Beau and I just watched the first episode of Downtown Abbey and I said to him, “I don’t know if I can watch this. It may be too demoralizing because I’m realizing that at the store I’m like a cross between newly arrived lame (literally like) Mr. Bates and the incompetent young scullery maid.”

To which he very politely didn’t add, “And you’re not young, either.”

Rope off a young’un, cougars – they respect their elders.

The real manager, the one who manages the other managers (and everybody on down), thinks I’ve found my calling. I just have to up my game on wardrobing. And no, I haven’t told her there’s no such word, although if you listen very closely you can hear me passive-aggressively muttering “words/meaning” to myself as I wander about the store.

You should hear the colours of the summer collection. In spite of there being lots of yellow, the word yellow is nowhere to be seen or heard.

And no, not buttercup or lemon or sunshine or any words you might associate with yellow, either. One of the university girls can rattle off the made-up words for everything to customers, “Ohh, you’re looking for the scallopese in carolinian – my bad, I was going to show you the jersentine in soft kerrista.”

Then she sells a shitload of yellow crap because she’s THAT good.

Head’s up, ladies d’une certaine age – pink – we need pink. Not a baby’s pink (hazy wistellery) – PINK! (firenza sparkozy!) The garment will absorb wrinkles and greying complexions while your face absorbs firenza sparkozy!

Yes, it’s like magic. You’re welcome.

The other university girls don’t give rat’s ass, though, which gives me vicarious thrills and may be the reason why I’m still working there instead of conceding that it’s all pretty fucked up and count me out while I sit at home with Bernie, declining faster into poverty, while staring out the window at the newly arrived temporary foreign workers as they head off to their jobs at the bank, Tim Hortons, rink, etc.

Seriously, do you think now like I do that Conservatives are actually enjoying all this? It’s the only explanation there is, really, other than the possibility that they have no idea what to do about it all.

But it’s really our own fault, isn’t it. I mean, I haven’t encountered a single customer who actually needs another anything. It’s the biggest joke going in the store.

Seriously. Stop shopping, ladies. You’re destroying the planet with your insatiable need to keep up. It’s all crap anyway. And men don’t give a shit what you’re wearing. It’s like my not yet/maybe never father-in-law says, “Bring food, show up naked.” And if you’re d’une certaine age and no longer working, all you need are a couple of pairs of drawstring pajama bottoms and a handful of tee-shirts with a fuzzy housecoat for winter layering.

That’s all I wear when I’m not working. When I’m working I’m wearing your castoffs from the Sally Ann.

Anyway, long story short, our thief of the evening demurred on the prospect of heading back into the empty dressing room with the very dress I was pretty sure – but not absolutely – she had tucked into her ample-sized bag (she also had a purse) as I suggested, “I can’t remember if I showed you this dress or not but I think you’d really like it. Would you like to go back into the dressing room and try it on?”

Yeah. Reading that back I can see the flaw in my “stop her before she steals” plan, but, you know, I’m not really a sales professional, I’m faking it.

And she bid a sort of hasty adieu – but only after asking me for my name, which seems like something a thief wouldn’t do, actually. Now that I read that back, in fact, it seems like something a person planning to come back and buy an outfit that looked amazing on her would do.

But I checked the computer and it appeared we were missing a dress. So I voiced all my concerns to the manager on duty – it was just the two of us last night it was so dead – and she was surprisingly, well, hm, not interested in dwelling on it, although she did ask if there was a leftover hanger in the dressing room, which there wasn’t, and offered up that the computer wouldn’t show yet if the dress had been sold during the day, when the store was quite busy.

What I was really asking was – what the hell am I supposed to do if I suspect someone of tucking a dress into her bag? You know, BEFORE she steals it by walking out of the store, and then I realized, OMG, I’m the one taking this all too much to heart because, in spite of the onus supposedly being on me to prevent theft, there isn’t actually anything I can do about it.

In fact, I was just upsetting the manager by going on about it while she tried to introduce every possibility that the dress hadn’t been stolen at all. (After her initial teaching moment, “that’s why you’re supposed to keep track of what the customer is trying on, Sooey” – to which I responded, “I did – that’s why I’m pretty sure she stole a dress.”)

Beyond that, without saying it, she was saying, “Look stupid, there’s nothing you can do about it, even if you’re sure, and you’re never going to be sure enough, so move on, let it go, shit, in this case theft, happens.”

And, you know, when I look back, past the introductory video and the manual and the training, I recall the main manager saying not directly to me but kind of at me while she stared out the entrance to the store: “I’m not risking my life to stop a shoplifter – not on this salary.”

So yes, I await the hiring of the temporary foreign workers who will.


Ooh, Cat Fight!

Funny to think that for the past eight years Mrs. Harper’s #1 priority has been to raise funds to build houses for stray cats and she’s only just been on the receiving end of her first heckler.

Is it possible our brains are devolving faster than those of our pets?


Come One, Come All, to the Stray Cat Ball

Heartbreaking watching the father of the young man who killed five people in Calgary address the media the other day.

And you just know something will be found that has nothing to do with anything and yet it will be seized upon as a possible reason why.

Misfiring synapses is why. It happened. And there was no way to prevent it.

But over to Ottawa, which is not so different from Calgary, is it. I wonder if the CPC will rethink its leaked strategy of using Mrs. Harper to add a human dimension to her “Crush, Kill, Destroy” husband – given her reaction to a crasher of the stray cat benefit ball she hostessed the other night.

I mean, I get it, she was caught off guard, real life outside the $20 million security bubble (or is it just for him?), crashers are annoying, but I’d never really thought of her as a Conservative before.

I do now.

Of course, the CPC might think that’s a good thing, Mrs. Harper, complete with kitten ears, snapping at a crasher for bringing up the subject of missing and murdered Aboriginal girls and women at a stray cat benefit ball.

Nothing sisters-in-arms about Mrs. Harper’s response, no siree. She responded like a straight up, straight ahead, straight shootin’ white man’s Conservative lady who knows her audience.

Stray cat benefit balls. That’s where the modern (oxymoron alert) Conservative Prime Minister’s wife can best be employed to the benefit of the Party.

Stray cat benefit balls.

Leave those manly captive panda photo ops to him.

The sad fact, no, the terrible fact is, Conservatives believe that certain victims of femicide, but particularly Aboriginal girls and women, ask for it. They blame them, they blame their parents, they blame their communities for insisting on living the way that they do, instead of the way that they should, which is like us.

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. Stop being Aboriginal, dammit.

Give up your lands, your way of life.


Join us at our stray cat benefit ball.

An inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal girls and women, as far as Conservatives are concerned, is a waste of time, money and effort that could be better spent advertising our ethical oil to foreign markets.

Forget a reliable public transportation system that would eliminate the need for Aboriginal girls and women to hitchhike on a highway frequented by rapists and murderers.

No one could have prevented the murders in Calgary last week. But we know why a lot of Aboriginal girls and women go missing and are murdered along the Highway of Tears. They lack reliable public transportation that would get them to and from where they want to go – safely.

Alas, Conservatives don’t care about the lives of Aboriginal girls and women.

Mrs. Harper is just lipstick on that pig of a fact.



Sewn Enough

This morning on my Facebook page there was a Harry Potter poster of Ron, Harry, Hermione with a caption suggesting that if you looked at Harry Potter from a different angle it could change your life.

So I clicked, not that I want to change my life, but because I thought maybe the revelation would be that Harry Potter was actually the story of Hermione. My plan was to then blog about how much more interesting that would make Harry Potter.

To me, anyway.

Full disclosure: Although I read the first three books aloud to my kids, and part of the fourth, that’s all I know of Harry Potterdom. Also, I wasn’t really paying attention while I read and sometimes I’d use the wrong voice and do Snape with a lisp instead of Dumbledore.

Just kidding! Geez Louise. I didn’t even know Dumbledore was gay at the time of reading on account of she hadn’t written book seven and the anal sex scene yet.

Anyway – SPOILER ALERT!! – the different perspective turned out to be that the greater sacrifice would have been Harry not killing Voldemort so that he would have to live forever, never seeing his loved ones again in the afterlife, and oh my wouldn’t that be terrible.

Well yes, because death is what gives life meaning.

(I may have missed something so if the above doesn’t make sense, fuck off eh because Harry Potter isn’t the point of this entry, anyway. This entry doesn’t have a point, so there.)

I think I’m going to wean myself off FB. It really is the worst time-sucker, and what with time being life, well, that makes FB a life-sucker, don’t it.

Seriously. I don’t do anything now except click on links and then blog about whatever I just read. And it’s so depressing – climate change, species extinction, Conservative politicians, pet mockery.

Although my life is different now that I’ve got the idea to become a scene-stealing character actor, which I got from clicking on that link, didn’t I.

I’m exactly eight issues behind in my Frank Magazine reading and they’re only on issue nine. Cripes, it’s like everything’s a job except my job now, the one I do when I’m away from the internet, my job hawking ladieswear. Ware?

I don’t know what I’m going to do for summer footwear. Dress sandals only, toenail polish required. I dunno. Maybe it’s time to look for something more appropriate.


Or do sales associates (gotta love the title) in menswear have to wear toenail polish, too, now – except clear because the private equity firms that own the stores don’t want the sales associates to look like drag queens.

It really is tricky trying to figure out how much to compromise. Today I sold ten times my weight worth of clothes and made $50.

Sometimes when I’m sitting with Bernie, our hound/lab/beagle/rottweiler (don’t worry, he has the least aggressive friendliest most playful rottweiler part ever), looking out the window, I feel a surge of stuff from my heart that I  transfer to Bernie by pressing into his side so that he can metabolize it into a radiant beam of calm that he then transfers back to me.

Really, I should just spend my day sitting on the couch with Bernie staring out the window. I’d be a much more productive person, I know I would.

Pay me a guaranteed annual income, you rat bastards!

I’m making a couple of skirts for work but the whole exercise is ridiculous because I could just go to the Sally Ann and buy nicer skirts for a couple of bucks like the one I wore to work today. I’m totally stressed out about it. I’ve got the front half done and the back half is slung over a chair, still pinned to the pattern. I can see it out of the corner of my eye while I type this. There’s no point in finishing it, either, because I’ll know it was homemade and therefore tres uglement.

Also, today my boss said, “Sooey, I hear you’re making a skirt to wear to work? So, um, is it like the skirt you’re wearing now? Because I like that skirt. It looks really good on you.”

“Well, it’s a little less poofy than this skirt, sort of smooth at the top, but with a little flirty flair.”

(I talk like the catalogue in hopes of sounding like I’m hip to the now in middle-aged ladieswear.)

“Poofy? That skirt isn’t poofy. What’s flirty flair?”

“Don’t worry, it’s a simple pattern. I’ve made it before, too. I made it to wear to my wedding, actually.”

“Your wedding?! <processing pause> So… do you have a sewing machine then?”

It was only later when I was recounting the conversation to my Beau (isn’t he lucky? he gets to hear all my stories and then read them on my blog, too!) I realized she was asking about my skirt because she was worried it was going to be hand sewn, or perhaps, taped together like those Kleenex dresses we made for our Barbies when we were kids.

Seriously, show your little girls how to make Barbie dresses out of Kleenex. And no, I can’t remember how now. Improvise. It’s Kleenex, ferchrissakes.

I have a leftover prejudice against homemade clothes thanks to Home Ec in grade nine when I made overalls out of brushed flowered denim that my mom thought would look really smart to wear on stage when I won the award for the highest mark in English, which I shared with my childhood friend who read Atlas Shrugged when she was ten.

She wore a mini dress and high heels and looked like Natalie Wood from Sex and the Single Girl after she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down.

Total lie. She was blond and didn’t wear glasses but she was a 36C by then so thanks for ruining my life, mom.

It’s terrible to admit this but I realized the other day that almost all of my stress is self-generated because what I really want to do with all my spare time is read and write and watch the odd documentary on TVO and The National on CBC, but I have all this stuff that I think I need to do something with and even if I didn’t I’d buy more and think I had to do something with that stuff.

I know, I know, Bourgeoise crisis much, Sooey?

Meanwhile, the island of Tuvalu is going to be submerged soon because the oceans are warming, so imagine how it makes me feel that I’m stressed out by having too much stuff, while the good citizens of Tuvalu are destined to be, well, either refugees or fish food.

So climate change refugees is what the Tuvalulalarians will be because even we aren’t that bad, right? I mean, we’ll do something to help the Tuvalulalarians before they become fish food, surely. After all, we’ve only ever benefited from the burning of fossil fuels. It hardly seems fair to…

… Omigawd. We’re not going to do anything to help the Tuvalulalarians, are we.

I hadn’t really thought about the inevitability of climate change until last night when I watched a documentary about it on TVO, which more than alluded to our moral obligation to help the Tuvalulalarians, on account of the fact that the people least responsible for climate change will be most affected by it. I mean, we kind of deserve to have our country submerged by a warming ocean, the Tuvalulalarians sure as hell don’t.

But like Pope John II said, there’s no such thing as hell, it’s all figurative, only idiots take that shit literally.

I paraphrase, of course.

Louisiana just made the Bible the state book and upheld the law declaring homosexuality illegal.

Okay. Good. Blogging all this has helped put my stuff problem in perspective. It’s simple isn’t it. I shall call the people who come and take stuff away to resell back to people like me except that, this time, I won’t buy it back. Instead, I’ll finish the little bit of sewing that I have left to do and wear my homemade creations (Butterick, actually) to work.

After all, the worst that can happen is they stop giving me hours (retail is very passive aggressive when it comes to firing sales associates), my feet will recover while Bernie beams calming rays my way, and then I start looking for work as a scene stealing character actor.