Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Dregs of Humanity

the only sane mall strategy

I went to a place today that I usually try very hard to avoid.  I broke down and visited my local mall.  I like people, but on my own terms. I don't want my personal spaceto be invaded by anyone I don't invite to invade said space. I don't want to share air with the people who foul it with their germ-infested droplets. More than anything. however, I do not wish to be either embarrassed or  guilted into purchasing overpriced  products.

At my local mall, people representing a bizarre brand of skin care products operate from kiosks in the center of the walkways linking major department stores. If the parasitic would-be salespeople would remain in their kiosks and would wait for prospective customers to show interest before descending upon them, I might possibly venture into a mall again in the next six months. Instead, the sales representatives approach potential customers with the all the zeal and don't-take-no-for-an-answer bluster of LDS missionaries on crack just for the purpose of  blackmailing me into purchasing their particular form of Santeria, otherwise known as acne medication.

The zit police patrol the mall in search of the most vulnerable among us -- the adolescents.. They snap pictures of unsuspecting shoppers, then blow the victims  up to roughly 4.5 times life-size on their kiosk screens, thus magnifying every pore and every pimple for all mall-shoppers to view. Then the goons speak into amplified systems, calling out passers-by, asking them if they're satisfied with the current state of their respective complexions. Some naive adolescents and their parents are humiliated into purchasing the products, which probably contain nothing with any discernible acne-fighting properties.

I suspect the goons of age-profiling before actually looking at anyone's complexion. They beamed me onto their screen. I paused to engage them momentarily. I marched right up to the screen displaying the magnified facial portrait of me. I challenged the consultant charged with haranguing me to find a zit on my face.  (I'm far from a flawless beauty, but I do have, through sheer luck,  a clear complexion.) The consultant faltered, but then told me it was only a matter of time. I would have walked away except that a girl from my anthropology class last spring had been ensnared by another consultant. I didn't want  her to be ripped off. I approached her and told her that her skin looked just fine as is, but if she genuinely wanted to throw her money away on an acne-fighting product, any university health center doctor would prescribe a topical medication much better than whatever voodoo potion these losers were hawking, and it would only cost her five dollars at the student pharmacy.

If a person really wants to thrown down a decent chuck of money in the war against acne, at least throw it away on Proactiv. It's moderately expensive stuff, but it does work. My brother has struggled with mild acne since the puberty fairy first paid him a visit several years ago. He started using Proactiv just under two years ago and has been essentially zit-free since shortly after starting the products.

I know that the zit police have bills to pay just as the rest of us do, but a person sells at least a little part of his or her soul whenever he or she goes to work for a corporation that demeans vulnerable people as its modus operandi.

I hate malls. I finished my shopping on


  1. Jason has been visited by the "puberty fairy" and has a pretty significant issue with acne. My mother is going out of her mind to try and cure him of his issue, but he's being an ass and won't use any of the stuff she's buying him. She doesn't know that, though. She got him Clearasil, Proactive, ProNexin, Oxy pads, she even bought him some sort of supposed "natural supplement" to take that's supposed to help. It's ridiculous. She told him if he's not cured by April she's taking him to a dermatologist because she doesn't want it to scar his face. I don't know what the big deal is with washing his face. It's not that he's a mess. He showers every morning/ every night. It wouldn't take that much more time for him to use the Proactive. But, it's become a power struggle now, and he's willing to let his face look like pizza sauce to prove a point.

  2. That's gotta be a nightmare for a parent. He doesn't know how many kids would give everything they have for parents who would provide the stuff he's getting. But then, he's probably embarrassed and prefers to pretend the problem doesn't exist.

    I'll probably have a major outbreak when I'm 30 or some other ridiculous age, but by then I can deal with it myself.

    1. Maybe not. Your body chemistry seems to be a lot like your mom's. Did she have any issues.

      I've been pretty lucky in that regard, too. I get the occasional pimple every now and then, but the majority of the time, I'm good. My Aunt Tracy had a difficult time with acne in her 20's. She had to have a total hysterectomy at 30 though, so her skin issues were probably related to that.

      Outside of skin care, I think Jason's main issue is his diet. He eats anything and everything. I've heard mixed things about diet and skin issues.

  3. I used to love going to malls… but they have definitely lost their cachet since my day. I would freak if someone put my face up on a screen for all to see!

  4. My mom said she doesn't think she's ever had a pimple. I suspect there's a lot of luck where acne is concerned, but my brother is a lot less selective about what he eats than I am; I wouldn't be surprised to learn that diet crontributes to acne.