Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Facts About Lisa: Entry #1, or Nothing Says Adventure like Selling Lotion at the State Fair

For some reason I have a lot of experiences that when recounted are both amusing and deeply embarrassing. I guess my life is amusing to people. It's amusing to me. In retrospect. With the advent of text messaging and email and chatting and blah blah blah it's apparent that Oral Tradition is rapidly dying, so lest these stories die with the people who tell them they will now exist eternally. On my blog. As a series. I will call this series Facts About Lisa.

Fact About Lisa #1: I once made 50 bucks selling lotion at the California State Fair.

No, really. There is a real lotion and it is called Touch of Mink and this is a true story about how I sold it and made fifty dollars.

What the hell was I thinking.

It was the summer after my senior year of high school when the mind-dulling heat and the pressure to make some last minute cash before leaving home for college/forever led me to take one of the least rewarding jobs I have ever held. My current job, a daily battle through bullshit though it is, is a greater success than this.

All those who hail from the great city of Sacramento know just how Awesome it is. Of course, that depends on how you define Awesome. If by awesome you mean Really Hot, or Kinda Boring, or Flat, then yes, Sactown is Awesome. Perhaps one of the awesomest things about living in Sacramento is that every year in late September, as if it were planned (!), the fine people of the Capital City get to experience for 2 whole weeks the joy, the heat, and the gang-activity of the California State Fair.

Our state fair is a great state fair! Anyone?...

Ain't nothin' betta than stuffing your face with a greasy funnel cake whilst admiring a price-drastically-reduced spa, or a hand-woven quilt, or the entrancing demonstration of a nimble four-fingered knife salesman, with the down home sound of a Pat Benatar cover band playing a crappy version of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on some distant, magical stage. The carnies abound, and late at night, walking in the colorful lights of the midway one may even get to witness a real-life gang fight-- carried out, no less, with the same half-price knives so expertly peddled earlier that day in the exposition hall.

Speaking of Exposition halls, this is where I landed a sweet job selling Touch of Mink lotion.Shut up, I needed money.

I showed up to the warehouse where the lotion selling training session was being held the sweaty afternoon before the fair. A clean-cut kid (with straight teeth), plucked straight from the suburbs, I was more than a little out of my element.

For one, I was white. For two, I had a future, and at 18 I hadn't yet whored myself, given birth to one or more illegitimate children, nor had I ever applied for food stamps. Nothing, and I mean nothing, screams "I'm desperate for money" like selling hand and body lotion products made with the animal skin extract at the Califuckingfornia State Fair.

Among the odd lot of sales personnel the classified ad had managed to lure behind the Touch of Mink sales booth was a woman named Ginny. Ginny was slightly built with tired, bloodshot eyes and some gnarly crows feet. I suspect she was a former user. Maybe a carnie. Maybe she was a college professor, fuck if I know. She couldn't have been a day under 56, and with half of the teeth in her mouth missing, she was fucking scary looking. Just being honest. But despite her permanent Halloween costume, Ginny was really quite nice.

And apparently that's all you need to be a successful lotion seller.

In the two days I was an employee at that wreck of a sales booth (the number of hands I touched makes me want to puke), my shiny grin was put to shame by Ginny's snaggle tooth as her numbers soared. Maybe she couldn't bite an apple, or whistle a tune, or floss... but damn she could sell lotion. Moisturizers, pumice stones, mink oil. You name it, Ginny sold it... like it was her job.

Oh Snap! It was her job!*

It's late now, and I'm searching for an ending to this story. Some nice way of wrapping this up to give everyone the impression that I really learned something from Ginny...her wrinkled face, her magic touch. Or that 2 days of slumming it in midtown Sac opened my eyes to some larger truths about human nature, or what it takes to have a successful career in sales. But honestly, this is the bottom line:

I made 50 bucks at the Sate Fair selling mink lotion. And I was outsold by a toothless old woman with a big ol' gap between her teeth, and apparently, an even bigger heart.

*I'm an awful person

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