“Dude, how is it going?”
I looked around to see who the store manager – a 30ish looking guy with the prerequisite earrings at Pac Sun in the Galleria in Roseville – was addressing.
“Dude,” he continued, “what are you looking for?”
It dawned on me that he was looking right at me.
“I’m with them,” I said slightly embarrassed as I gestured toward my granddaughter Ashley and boyfriend Sawyer who were shopping for clothes.
“Cool,” came the reply.
Cool? I had the befuddled look you’d expect a 53-year-old to be in a store whose entire marketing strategy excludes guys who’ve read “War and Peace”, are registered Republicans, and whose favorite recording artist is Frank Sinatra.
Yes, I was wearing cargo shorts. Yes, I had Bolle cycling glasses (they’re prescription) on, and, yes, I was wearing a California muscle shirt. But dude? Let’s be serious, I’m definitely way on the backside of 30 by at least two deep valleys and a couple of hills. If nothing else, my gray hair gave me away. Hint, it wasn’t from stressing over whether I’d be getting a thousand or so hits on a You Tube video uploaded of me doing something insanely stupid or sophomoric.
The next stop was Urban Outfitters. I made the mistake of taking a pseudo leather jacket off the rack and looking at it.
Within seconds a sales “dude” was upon me.
“What size do you wear, dude?” he asked.
I mumbled something about it wasn’t a Wilson’s Leather jacket and again mentioned I was in the store shopping with two teens.
“Just hanging, that’s cool, dude,” came the reply.
I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me.
I got the same treatment at Hot Topic as well as Mainland Skate where the sales “dude” was just a bit too talkative. It’s not that I’m not friendly. I just don’t have too much in common with sales “dudes” who sell $75 sandals where I can buy virtually the same thing at Kohl’s for $15.95.
I definitely am not expected to be called sir, but “dude?”
Ashley assured me clerk “dudes” in those stores just talk to people that way. Apparently that includes even the sales “dudes” who are old enough to have seen first-run episodes of Farah Fawcett on “Charlie’s Angels.”
It wasn’t until we were in Abercrombie & Fitch that I understood mall stores aimed at teens and post-teens are from Alpha Centauri or some other dimension where everyone strives to look different but ends up looking the same wearing the same type of $40 torn jeans and $20 graphic T-shirts that you’ll be able to buy in two years at the Walgreen’s discount racks at two for $5.
There was a classy well-dressed elderly lady seated in the overstuffed love seat near the dressing rooms. She looked about as thrilled as a 15-year-old Corn fan trapped listening to chamber music. It was an appropriate look as something resembling noise – a rap video - was playing on the store TV screen.
“It definitely isn’t Sinatra,” I said out loud.
“Sinatra?” came her reply. “It isn’t even music. I can’t believe my granddaughter wants to buy clothes here that cost three times as much as at a real store.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail email@example.com