January 7, 2011

Avon Calling

Yesterday we made a scheduled trip up to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital for another exciting round of barium swallows and waiting room boredom. I spent the good majority of the day moving from one uncomfortable leather chair to another, trying to secure the best possible people-watching seat that I could. You see, Owen's first appointment ended at 10:30, and his second was not until 1:00 (which really means 3:45 in "doctor time"), so we certainly had some time to kill.

I knew that the boy needed a nap, and the last thing I wanted was for him to conk out just as the doctor comes in the room to poke and prod him. So I settled into a torn double-seater in the lobby just outside the cafeteria - prime viewing, I figured - and got him comfortable enough to doze off. Then I took inventory of my surroundings.

Across from me sat an older man, perhaps in his late 60's, reading a magazine. His attire consisted of loafers, a plaid shirt, and giant red suspenders that had to be at least 3" thick with the word "COCKHUTT" written lengthwise down them. Feel free to make your own judgements.

Next to me was some guy in scrubs who looked like he was about 12 years old reading a book that had close to 2100 pages in it. And either he received a page or he had to go pee really bad, because all of a sudden Doogie Howser shot up out of the chair and took off at warp speed down the hallway.

And then, diagonal from me, were two women. One of them had one of those voices that was just loud enough to be heard, but not understood, with just enough of the Fran Drescher nasal tone to make you want to shoot yourself. She was a bigger woman who seemed to put her entire upper body into this conversation. The second woman just sat next to her, silent, perhaps too scared to move lest she get pummeled by her friend's tree branch-like arm. They seemed like an odd pairing, and from the bits and pieces I could make out such as "online" and "invoices" I decided that they were conducting some sort of business right here in the hospital cafeteria lobby.

I was going to guess drugs or hoagie sandwiches when all of a sudden, the loud one got up and gathered up some papers, signaling the end of their partnership. And just when I thought I had to find someone new to focus on, this woman comes barreling towards me like a herd of rhinoceroses.

Before I could say a word, she plopped down on the seat beside me and said "Have you ever tried Avon's Lotus Shield Shampoo?"

OH NO! It's...it's....an AVON LADY.

And here I was, trapped, sleeping baby in my arms. Well played, Avon Lady, well played. She rambled on for a moment about some Avon product and how it was made out of the teardrops of unicorns or some other such nonsense before asking me if I had ever tried Avon products before. Thankfully, despite the mind-numbing boredom that had consumed me in the lobby, I managed to reply that not only did I use Avon, but one of my best friends was an Avon rep.

I smirked internally, thinking surely that was enough to chase away this lady and to finish out my people-watching in peace.

"So what are you guys here for?"


Could this get any worse? I couldn't believe that this woman had the gall to try and sell me shampoo in a hospital waiting area, let alone pry into our personal health status. Part of me wanted to tell her that I had a contagious skin rash and then ask to shake her hand. I still had 45 minutes left to kill and I really didn't want to give up my great people-watching spot, can you blame a girl?

But just as I decided to give her the bare minimum of information, her Avon-sense must have triggered an alarm that there was another woman nearby unattended that she could attempt to sell product too and she quickly dismissed herself.

And I breathed a huge sigh of relief, as well as a tiny curse word under my breath. I honestly can't think of a more inappropriate place to try and sell makeup aside from maybe your own grandmother's funeral. What was that woman thinking?


  1. So that's the trick to selling; being completely inappropriate!! No wonder why I was never good at sales! Your telling of your tale was quite an entertaining read! :)

  2. hahahaha...and I can laugh...I've actually been there but it was MAry K!! Oh, yes!

  3. Wow- how inappropriate. I direct sell too (not Avon) but would never approach a person in a waiting room. Sheesh.


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