The Anniversary of My Past Life

I opened up my AOL this morning and the first thing I noticed was “The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Starts Today!” I remember when those words used to make me cringe. I worked at Nordstrom for 8 years, and the Anniversary Sale meant…late nights spent preparing and long days spent running around and around and up and down. Granted, you could make a lot of money during the Anniversary Sale. First of all, you were allowed to “pre-sell” merchandise. Customers could come a couple of weeks beforehand to try on and pick out what they wanted and then you would charge their card on the first day of the sale (today), allowing you to rack up quite a nice amount of sales if you played your cards right.

However, by pre-selling the merchandise, you would repeatedly dig yourself into a hole because you often did not have the correct size for the customers who came in on the first day. This meant spending possibly hours on the phone with other stores, trying to find the appropriate size, not to mention having to listen to the lady bitch about how it was ridiculous that you didn’t have her size when it was only the first day of the sale. You also had many customers who would have buyer’s remorse. They came in, pre-tried and pre-bought (oftentimes several items, easily totaling upwards of a thousand dollars), you rang it up on the first day and then, two days later (after you had already had dozens of customers that had needed that missing size) they would change their mind and ask you to return it for them.

The first weekend we would work all day the first day (7 a.m. - 10 p.m.), most or all day on Saturday (at least 12 hours) and all day on Sunday. Then sometimes we would work 10-12 hours a day throughout the week as well. However, even with all the long hours and customer issues, it was the best time of year for us. With 10% commission, we could make $4,000-$10,000 in the two week period.

So today I opened up my AOL and “Anniversary Sale” jumped out at me from the page. The first thing I thought was…I should go to Nordstrom! I need something! I don’t know what it is, but I need it. And I need it today! Luckily for my pocketbook, the closest Nordstrom to me right now is in Houston, which is a 5 hour drive. Luckily I also remembered that nobody in their right mind would go to Nordstrom on the first day of the Anniversary Sale. Especially not me!

And…I really don’t need anything. When I worked at Nordys, I used to kid myself that I needed things. New shoes (hundreds of pairs), a new red suede coat (which by the way is REALLY cool – I still have it and it will last me years, especially since I never have a chance to wear it), a new dress which is “such a good deal!” because it is marked down from $400 to $200… the list goes on. Although I have retained my fetish for expensive shoes, I now diversify a little and sometimes shop at TJ Max instead. I also have absolutely no desire to go and push my way around the store with hundreds of other desperate women who will probably try on hundreds of things and then not buy anything anyway.

So, the words “Anniversary Sale” still make me cringe. But now I have more control over my Nordstrom experience. This year I will avoid the store; I will avoid the nasty memories; I will avoid the harried salespeople and the aggressive consumers.

This year, I will shop online.

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