My son goes to summer camp tomorrow and I was feeling antsy. I have plans to go to the fair with a friend and our gaggle of offspring later in the month, but I am often frustrated by the group and trying to herd everyone through the different exhibits (when all they really want is to go on rides). I found myself missing my Mom today (she now lives in Florida) because the fair is something we did together each year. Just us two. We'd look at all the exhibits and eat special things each year (gotta have Terri's Berries and the delicious bratwurst with sour kraut and mustard...and don't forget a cinamon roll when you've finished the Aisle of Products!!) So, with my son (13) about to leave for a week, I asked if he would go with me. He changed his plans and off we went. I'm so glad he did.
We took the shuttle in from a parking lot down the street from South Coast Plaza - a new experience for me. Arriving at the fair hungry, we stopped and got "normal" food - hamburger (with cheese, bacon, bbq sauce, onion ring) and a chili dog. (Didn't realize the giant (freakishly giant really) turkey legs were just a bit further down.) Scarfed that down and off we went. Crafts first. I'll be honest, the quilts just don't thrill me. We were mezmerized by the wood turning as we joined a crowd watching one of the woodworkers strip a bowling pin of it's plastic so he could make something else out of it. What a fascinating process. So fun to watch! I could have stayed till he finished!
We finally made our way to the mecca of sales...the Aisle of Products! Who knew there could be so many things you didn't know you need?! Everything from magic mops to chiropractic and back to life insurance. We walked up and down the aisles thinking about each item we couldn't do without now that we were aware of the product. I was tempted by the juicer, the Mink Oil, the special Aloe Vera lotion that penetrates 7 layers of skin and is the same product used by hospitals to treat burn patients. "If you buy today, I can give you enough lotion to last you two years." My son is saying, "Mom, you need that!" I told the salesman I'd think about it (which I am honestly, wondering if it might be a good option for my friends daughter with allergies and eczema). Next we were drawn in by the Mink Oil which is "the closest thing to your body's own moisture available." After washing my hand, Kathy (our salesperson) exclaimed, "Look how great your hand looks, it has fewer wrinkles. Isn't it great?!" My son piped up "Yes!" When she finished her sale with all it's available options ("A good eye cream would cost you more than all these products combined.") my son added that while you got enough lotion for 2 years from the Aloe Vera people, you only got lotion. Here you get so much more! Good sales person, my boy! Kathy's eyes sparkled thinking she had us. I said no. I really must think about it.
Walking down another aisle, my son and I talked about selling and the different tactics these people used. The hard sales of the sneaker cleaning people (I mean, they practically begged me to buy it), to the people who didn't push us at all. How did they make us feel? My son starting thinking anybody could sell him anything (which today, they could) and I explained that he has a good heart and on top of believing their claims of greatness (I mean come on, they even demonstrated how great it was!) he didn't want to disappoint them.
I think back to the "I wants"... I do want a product like the mink oil that will be gentle and keep my skin clean and soft. That won't need to be reapplied until 6-8 hand washings later. It sounds so great. The aloe lotion was so soft. The sneaker cleaner made me feel like I was helping youth who could have been out doing something far less productive. I really do need that tempurpedic mattress. I mean, I could easily justify that particular expenditure! (still waiting to discuss with the hubster! I mean, 100 day trial, free delivery, no interest payments for three years! and the most awesomely comfortable bed you've ever sat on!) sigh... I guess I still have the "I wants" and yet, I came home with only 2 items for my boy and a cup I can take back for refills on my next trip. (OK, $2.50 refills, but it's 3x the size of the drink they would normally give me for $2.50). Next trip... I want... friends with us, corn on the cob, more comfortable shoes on my feet and funnel cake. All sounds do-able.
What do you do at the fair?
What item from there is always a pull on you?
And by the way, I wanted more lotion on my hands by the time we hit the bus for our ride back to the car... so much for ONE handwashing! (but the baby piggies were SO CUTE and who doesn't want to pet a Llama!)