The Red Towel Caper

Could this be one of “THE” red towels?

“You want to return how many towels?” the displeased clerk at Sears asked. I uttered, “27, ”without moving my lips, hoping this would lessen the impact. Apparently this had no effect. She gave me a triple ‘I can’t believe it eye-roll’ before she even looked at the paperwork. I looked around for a chair. I knew I was going to be there awhile; she, however, had not a clue what lay ahead. Now I had to tell her:

  • I had already washed them. All of them.
  • I purchased them through a sister source: Lands End
  • No, I didn’t want another color or a credit. I wanted my money back.

I knew when the chirpy Lands End consultant told me I needed to return my defective batch of RED RUNNING towels to the closest Sears that I was in for trouble.

Thus, the Johnson towel saga begins. A small crowd of onlookers began forming as I described in detail the pink hue everything in my home had taken on since the towels arrived. She suggested I wash them separately the first time. I looked at her as if she just landed from the moon.

I gripped the counter as I explained, “Something is wrong with these towels. After six washings, a river of red continues to stream out of my washing machine. Although I recognize I look like I’m eighteen years old attempting my first batch of laundry, I assure you, I’m quite familiar with the ins and outs of laundry separation.” I caught the eye of a woman in the crowd- she gave me a thumbs up of encouragement. With a renewed sense of purpose, I placed my ‘ace in the hole’ on the counter: my packing slip from Land’s End stating across the bottom:

Customer Service Satisfaction Guaranteed. Period.

As my cheerleaders looked on, she scanned the first item from the packing slip. Nothing. She rescanned. Again. And again. As she is carrying this out, I thought maybe I should get Lands End on my cell phone, you know so they could walk her through this process.

As if she could read my mind, she looked straight at me and said, “This is not going to work.” I looked at her. She looked at me. The crowd shifted. Hey I lived with a cop. I knew to keep quiet; I was not leaving the store with 12 red bath towels, 12 wash cloths and 3 hand towels. I had a vested interest in this chess match.

She caved. With agitation clear in her tone, she called for a supervisor to her kiosk. Out of nowhere she startled me exclaiming, “You know what they’re going to do with these towels, don’t you? They’re going to put them on the clearance table for sale.” I asked simply, “ Are you going to warn customers that they run?” She laughed and looked at me without answering.

Murmurs moved through the crowd in anticipation of my next move. I told myself, if the manager wasn’t there in 5 minutes, I was leaving. I planned to take my red bundle to the post office and ship it to Lands End directly. Damn the cost. I am in “the good years” of my life (isn’t that what they say in the commercials?) I don’t need to spend my day with this woman.

Suddenly, the crowd opened up; the manager walked up to the counter. She did not look happy about the ‘sit-in’ at the kiosk. Her body language screamed this as she tersely asked what the problem was. In less than two minutes, the first towel was scanned and my account was credited. I smiled.

The clerk said, “You mean I have to ring these individually? That’s like 30 items.” The look on the manager’s face sent a chilling wave over the crowd. “Yes, that’s right.” She turned to me, “Mrs. Johnson, I’m so sorry you had so much trouble with these towels. Your account will be credited for the full amount. Please know we always want our customers satisfied.”

To say Miss Priss was seething was well, lower than an understatement. Thirty minutes later, I walked away, with the credit without the red towels.

I do admit I look for the red towels on the clearance table when I go into Sears with LT.

So far, nothing.

Sammy’s in the bag, the Vera Bradley Bag

You're right, I don't think I'll fit in the 'Gabby'

I refuse to let go of my dream of carrying Sammy (my Jack Russell Terrier puppy) in a Vera Bradley purse. I’ve had this dream since the summer of 2007 when I made my first trip to Orange County, California. I flew into the famed airport for a four day Turbo Kick Camp with Chalene Johnson and the crew of Powder Blue Productions. I had an unbelievable time, to be followed by two subsequent trips to Camp Turbo in 2008 and 2009.

With each visit to John Wayne Airport my attention was queued by East coasters carrying their precious canines in a variety of designer purses: Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Chanel to name but a few. All were walking nonchalantly without the fervent expressions seen on the faces of travelers in today’s high security-pitched airline travel world. I am not a harried airline traveler. I have been flying on airplanes since I was a little girl.  Treated like a prima Dona during my first solo flight, I arrived at my destination with a set of stewardess’ wings and a name tag pinned to my dress. My Mommy had given the stewardess specific instructions about Aunt Mammy, whom I was flying up to visit.  No, I did not need a puppy in a bag to calm my nerves; I wanted a puppy in my bag because I wanted a traveling companion.

My puppy dreams came true four months ago. Now, all I needed to do was locate MY bag. I’ve owned all the heretofore designer bags in my life. As my longtime readers know, my heart belongs to Vera Bradley. The first day Sammy came home with us, I pictured him nestled in one of my Vera bags, ready to go at a moment’s notice on one of my sojourns. As fate would have it, yesterday I gave my dream a trial run. OMG. Only one foot fit into the Vera Bradley style bag I am currently carrying, the ‘Gabby.’ I think Sammy grew a bit when I wasn’t looking.

I rushed back to my extensive Vera collection, and grabbed another style, the Betsy. This time, I got both feet in, but the center of gravity quickly revealed this to be a temporary placement. If slight turbulence was encountered, the purse would tip and Sammy would drop to the floor. (You could expect to find Sammy far, far away from the drop site. Let’s just say Sammy does real well when he gets a running start.)

I'll bring the pen-promise!

Not ready to give up, I have set my sights on the Vera style. With impressive dimensions, I believe Sammy will fit in the ‘Vera’ style bag; however this is not going to be an easy thing to check out. I foresee the exchange going something like: “Excuse me; may I put my puppy in a ‘Vera’ bag to check to see if he fits?”

My saving grace is that I have probably paid the rent  for the last six months with my Vera Bradley purchases. Perhaps she will indulge me.

I am going to hold off this burning desire to run down right now with Sammy for a size check. The way he is growing I may end up with a duffle bag before this is all over. Regardless, I will have him crammed into a Vera Bradley bag at which time I will nonchalantly walk around with the best of the east coasters.

Just wait and watch me.

What is the cost per unit?

LT must be shopping with me- this would take me hours!

Normally I do my grocery shopping on weekdays. I need the quiet in order to concentrate. Concentrate on what, you’re asking?

My confession: I am a  price per unit sale shopper. Before you start whining about your horrendous math skills and how you never did get long division, let me help me you.

In Publix, as in most grocery stores, the price per unit  is included on the small white sticker  on display below the price of the item. In the upper left of this sticker, the unit price is displayed. Put your reading glasses on- it’s there, trust me. The cost per unit definition is the price divided by the number of units included.

Admittedly, this preoccupation with getting the best deal at the grocery store seems to go up as I get older. Unsure if this should be listed on the positive side or on the negative side, next to other 0bssessive behaviors. I get this yearning from my Daddy.

If you asked Daddy to pick up some hamburger buns for dinner, he would delight in his mission. Later, he would walk in the kitchen with a package of 64 hamburger buns. With us standing there in a bun-stupor, Daddy would tell us about the helluva deal he had gotten on them.

I am very careful not to fall into that quantity is cheaper trap. Quantity may not be the cheapest if you have to eat hamburgers once a week for 4 months.

For most items, all is fair- vendors give me your best shot. I’ll check your price per unit. If yours comes up low man on the totem pole, we’ve got a deal.

For the products that are on the A list, I will select the cheapest of quantities packaged. In other words, whatever package of Viva has the lowest price per unit, I buy.  This explains why you may see me climbing up shelves to get the eight-pak of Viva. I will move/do whatever is necessary to get the best price on my essential items.

Cuz I know it’s killing you to know what’s on my A list- here are a few

  • Viva Paper Towel,
  • Northern XSoft Toilet Paper,
  • Kashi Chewy Granola Honey Flax Almond Bars
  • Diet Coke.
  • Tide

Do not try to fool me with  Bounty or heaven help you,  Diet Pepsi. I drink the real thing.

I am the type of customer companies dream about. I will go out of my way to tell you why you should buy Viva paper towels.  No, I cannot explain why I have not been in a commercial.

I must admit I have a difficult time at the grocery store. I find it much easier to spend $150 at Talbots than buy a pineapple for $4.99 or spend  $3.89 for a box of Kashi bars.

Mommy is the culprit here. Among the many words of wisdom she passed on to my little sister and me is not to nickel and dime yourself to death. Consequently, if the item costs less than $20, not only do I have this inner struggle going on, I see Mommy rolling quarters.

I am not allowed to select items when I go grocery shopping with LT.

Go figure?