Everybody has one of those stories. You walk into a place, and it’s painfully obvious that you do not belong. Whether you were the lady that walked into the men’s bathroom, or the redneck cowboy that stepped into an elevator full of drag queens, everyone has had that feeling at one point in their life. Heads turn, awkward looks follow. The same expression is seen on everyone’s face around you, “Are you lost?” My moment of being the pariah came the second I walked through the door at Tiffany & Co.
It was nearing Christmas of 2003. I wanted to make this first Christmas with my girlfriend the best she ever had. Lucky for me, I had finally come to the realization that I was one of those boyfriends that was disturbingly pathetic at giftgiving. Ask my college girlfriend, I was terrible. It wasn’t on purpose, I always had the best of intentions. Creative lapses and bad advice from girl friends (thanks a lot, Brooke and Amy) always did me in. Every Christmas I was shocked by the lack of joy on the face of my girl. I was bound and determined to make this Christmas incredible. But as the holiday drew closer, I found myself in the midst of another creative lapse.
Fortunately, I had an angel on my side. One of my very best friends also moonlighted as my boss at the radio stations. She was a true friend, with a great attitude. More importantly in that moment was the fact that she had impeccable taste. She knew I wanted to do something special, so she suggested jewelry. Duh! How can you go wrong with jewelry? She shows me a bracelet someone got for her awhile back from Tiffany & Co. It was simple and classy, with a tag that could be engraved. Suddenly, the creative juices were flowing like mad. I get off work and head straight to the upscale mall in town.
The Bellevue Square Mall itself did not seen welcoming. I walk in and I’m surrounded by very uppity men and women that probably make in a week what I would in a month. Everyone seemed beautiful, it didn’t make sense. I make my way through the mall, passing countless stores I would never dream of shopping in. Fireworks, J. Crew, the Pottery Barn, all out of my league, to say the least. I turn a corner and find myself standing in front of Tiffany & Co. It’s the only store in the mall with doors at the entry. Large glass doors that look as thick as my arm rose above me, with a security guard standing just on the other side, holding his earpiece like a Secret Service agent. Oh geez, here we go.
I crossed the threshold and the oversized, bald security guard (is that a job requirement?) gives me an arrogant once over. I swear I saw him let out a slight sniff. Oh no! Did I smell poor? Did I carry the scent of middle-class? It took me until about four steps past the monster to overcome the fear of some giant cartoonlike hook catching me by the throat, yanking me out of the store. Definitely a fish out of water, I looked around at all the obviously wealthy clientele, and the teal boxes littered deliberately about.
Lucky for me, an older woman working behind the counter waved me over. She must have recognized the distraught look on my face. I’m sure the look was comparable to those of young boyfriends lingerie shopping for the first time at Victoria’s Secret. Thankfully, this sweet lady took me under her wing, and helped me through my first jewelry purchasing experience. God bless that woman! After making my decision, I cautiously made my way to the door, receipt in hand. I made sure to keep Mr. Clean in my eyesight at all times, thinking he might assume I stole something… and hand me a vicious beating.
As I got to the exit, I half expected a tollbooth to appear out of nowhere. I figured there would be some little man charging me for the upperclass oxygen that had just been wasted on such a less than worthy man as myself. Fortunately, that did not happen. Maybe they had a “first-day is free” policy. They would for sure charge me when I came back to get the engraving.
100 Comments Add yours
Great story:)It\’s the sad truth, but there are snobs everywhere in this world. There will always be someone out there judging you by your income, appearance, vehicle, home, etc.When I\’m in an uncomfortable public situation, I just try to hold my head up and look people in the eyes. I hope it gives me a look of self confidence. I\’d rather give off an impression like "I don\’t care what you think of me" rather than "I\’m very intimidated by you".
Think Tiffany\’s in a mall is overwhelming? Can you imagine the one in NYC? Several floors worth of intimidating security…lol. We didn\’t even bother to browse on the first floor, I think my eyes would have started to bleed if they saw just one of those crazy price tags, we went up to the fourth where the, umm, how do I phrase this delicately, average Joe selection is. This after lunch at Tavern on the Green, where your waiter has waiters waiting on him, unbelievable!!! Talk about being outta place.No I\’m not a high roller, this was an extraordinarily generous Christmas gift. Your blog brought back alot of memories from that one day of living the "life" 🙂
Ha ha…. this is awesome, Kenny! I can somehow relate to this experience — you\’re right, we\’ve all had them at some point!Just wanted to share with you something that happened over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went shopping on this very cool shopping street full of exclusive and expensive stores. We were dressed in jeans and t-shirts, and at the start of our journey we entered into some of these stores and were ignored by the sales people, or they would have this condescending attitude, like "yes I know you\’re not going to buy anything and are just looking around for what you will never be able to afford".Anyway, my boyfriend finally bought a pair of pants from this upscale store, and they gave us a cute shopping bag. Now, I had read about this in a magazine but never thought it could possibly be true – at least not in such an obvious way. But it is. So right after that, everything changed. Every fancy and designer store we went, sales people would be coming after us, and going out of their way finding stuff for us to try on "just for fun".It was really funny!Hope you\’re having a good day :)Lu
Kenny, they\’re Robin Egg blue. lol, I\’m only kidding. As yet another girl who has stood at the cases and oggled the rings, I know how you feel when you walk into Tiffany\’s. Now, I get the catalogue so I don\’t have to feel the piercing looks of the security guard! "Nothing could ever be wrong at Tiffany\’s" ~ Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany\’s
Ha! You make me feel normal….I love reading these kind of stories as they make me feel like I\’m not the only cookie on the apple tree ( I mean this very nicely too)!! The effort and the beating you went through is almost gift enough, I\’m think the Tiffanies is just the HUGE bonus! Way to go man!!!
Its been said before, but it bears repeating…She was/is a very lucky girl.Personally, I feel like a fish out of water in almost every situation, but I think I do a pretty good job of hiding it. Most of the time.Our snootiest mall here in Houston is the Galleria. See, even sounds snooty. I really take exception to the whole area. It just seems a waste to me. There are too many other people in the world who do without so much. It never seems right to me for other people to flaunt their wealth.We also have First Colony Mall. The mall itself is a little above average, not quite the Galleria, but even more demoralizing than the mall is the neighborhood. Middle class isnt what it used to be.I like the story I heard of a guy, a multi-millionaire, but he lived in the same one story house he\’d always lived in and drove just an average car and he gave all he could to charity.I think everyone should have what they need and its o.k. if its a little fancy. But I don\’t think God looks to kindly upon excess.After all, Jesus said that it is easer to thread a camel through a needles eye than for a rich man to enter into God\’s kingdom.
I\’ve found myself in similar situations quite a few times. It\’s terrible. It\’s like everyone and everything just stops and all eyes are on you, lol. I\’m glad you were able to make it through without paying a toll for using their air, LOL. You made me laugh today, thank you. Have a great day!~ Fat Chick
Top Ten List of Fish-out-of-water experiences:1. Being black in a room full of white people and being generally ignored.2. Being a single mom amongst a group of two-parent families.3. Being single period and surrounded by couples.4. Living check to check and in any retail surrounding where the people there can buy and sell you three times over.5. Leaving your small one bedroom apartment to attend a function at an acquaintance’s estate-sized home. You know, the kind with the huge entryway with the hanging chandelier.6. Going to an office-function where you know they all make more money than you and everyone is relating stories about their college experiences. You know, the experience you left behind because you couldn\’t keep up with your classes and a crying baby at the same time.7. Having to valet park your 1999 Sunfire with all the Mercedes, BMWs, Lexuses (or Lexi?), Infinities, and Lincoln Navigators. And you\’re minus a couple of hubcaps…8.Visiting any country club.9. Being the new person in a group of people who\’ve known each other their whole lives and having very little to contribute as they reminisce about good times.10. Traveling and having to ride a plane and check into a hotel for the first time.Bonus11. Going to a party with a friend and you\’re the only one who doesn\’t speak the language.
I seriously find it hard to believe with your personality and charm that you wouldn\’t fit in anywhere you go!! 🙂
I bet she loved it, the best gifts come from the heart…you seem to have ALOT to give…
Kenny,How is it that you are playing a song (Foo Fighters, Everlong) that I have loved since about the time I had my own accident? Look, I know this comment has nothing to do with gift-giving; but really, how could I say anything new? …. I stumbled across your blog about a month ago and was mesmerized. You are an amazing man, and with each entry you continue to draw me in.In no way would I ever pretend to understand all that you have gone through, but I can relate. On the 25th of January, 2003, I had a rock-climbing accident in which I fell 75 feet. By all accounts I should have died, or at the very least been paralyzed…. But somehow I didn\’t, and I wasn\’t. I spent the next five weeks in the hospital, most of it in the ICU. This is why I can understand why it wasn\’t a fun place for you to be….. My recovery was long and slow. I\’d crushed my right scapula into bits in the fall and had some pretty extensive nerve damage. For a while I wasn\’t sure if I\’d ever be able to lift my right arm again.Kenny, I don\’t know why I\’m telling you all of this. Perhaps you won\’t even read it. After all, you do get a lot of comments on your blog. But honestly, you\’re the kind of guy I want to meet. Gosh, if I had the chance I\’d fly to where you are and introduce myself. I\’m no Hallie, but I think we\’d have a lot to talk about.keep writing. we\’re all rooting for you. =)Jess
Great story…I was the first and only female in a whole department of salesMEN at my last job. I was also the only female executive for a while. Even though I knew I was qualified for the job, it took the guys a while to figure it out.It is also hard being the only overweight person in a room full of skinny women. :-)Sweet dreams, Kenny!
hi kenny, hope you had a stimulating day…sometimes too much peace is just that, :TOO MUCH ! loli have wanted to comment to you that your choice of music is always so touching…right on the money…for you of course , but also for me…so now i finally was able to get audio on my site…the song playing will be on for a few days…my brother chose it for me and i love it….it touches me….and you…take the visit if you have time and let me know.okay, the fish out of water thing, those are the best of times…the ones where you whisper to your friend/cousin/sister, whoever is with you…"you know we will laugh about this one day". for us it was a Christmas eve…we were looking for a service as we misunderstood the timing of our Church\’s Christmas service…we were looking and found a drive thru service, but no, that just wasn\’t right, not on Christmas eve…so we finally find one at a Church I had visited once before..well the parking lot was full, so we parked, and got out, it was myself, and my two cousins…as we were walking up to the building we didn;t even think about interupting..afterall, it was a gathering on the eve of HIS birth…so we just open the doors (two doubles, really made the entrance/entry !) and lo and behold we were staring at about 60 people staring up at us from their Christmas Eve dinner…what did we do you ask?…we bolted, laughing hysterically, running into the car as one person had followed and was yelling, it is okay, come on in..but we could not face that…not with a straight face…so in the end, we drove up to the Catholic Church did a crossing, you know, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, AHMEN !!! then we drove around for hours laughing and viewing all the wonderful displays of lights.yes we too felt not like the fish out of water, but more like the turkey showing up in the middle of Thanksgiving meal…and to this day, many years later, we still laugh til it hurts when the story comes up.So once again, as you said, we must all be able to laugh at ourselves, with ourselves…life is too precious and too short.Hope you have an awesome, vivid dream, this evening of running, jumping, surfing, Hallie, and all good things but most of all FLYINGGGG ! still, IN HIS GRIP,giggling,xo jc
Security guards are frustated patthectic fools! What do they know?!(Maybe he was a "smelling dog", trained by Police K9 division!)Some day they will make you show your credit card and account number validation and authentication before they let you in the store! ah ah- You must have at least one million dollars to come in!- they will say…But, as you know, there are exceptions!(Like the nice woman) I bet Donald Trump is a nice guy!eh ehTake careP.S.- Acoustic "Everlong"! Good choice…
okay you,i am learning a few things here…i know you came by today…perhaps more than once? no feedback…come on..gimme something….did you like the music?funny,, well maybe not sooo funny..but for quite awhile i have taken to isolation….by choice…reason not yet to be shared…too much, too soon…but someone very close to me told me that as long as I did not reach over the walls. no one could get in….did i hit any button? sure would like to hear from you…even in my room, all alone, i am not, i am,you are,IN HIS GRIPjc
Your blog is great and i have felt that way many times. Just could not of found the words that you found today. Wonderful, i will look forward to more blogs, thanks again Mindy
Loved your blog. When I was back in the states, I\’d visit one of these upity stores when I needed a boost. I\’d dress in my worn out jeans looking as poor as you please. Many a storeclerk gaves me the, "oh, I think that\’s too expensive for you," line. But, when I found a clerk like your older Asian lady that showed me respect in my poor outfit, I\’d haul out the money, thumb my nose at the security guard, and enjoy life. Don\’t ever let them look down their noses at you, everyone deserves respect.
This is the second comment I have made to you. Last night I emailed this to all of my children (ages 14,16,22) and my entire family. I spend 99% of my time worrying that something terrible will happen that I dont get to enjoy all the cool things they do. My 16 year old son started his own band, and people come and listen to him. I would never have the guts to try something like that. Like you I would never have the guts you have. There is no doubt in my mind that you will find peace. Your are educated, well spoken, you have a wonderful sense of humor. which is more important that you think. The only person I have ever loved, had the greatest sense of humor. We just cant be together. And you still love which will make you ok. Hallie might have been your first but not your soul mate. She is waiting for you to find her again when your not looking, just like before. Kenny, have a good day, and dont forget if you ever want to talk …..
………..Is it Friday yet? :o)~
hi there i have a question i want u help me answer it .. canu psss buy and help me find an answer
I love the story and I have experienced similar feelings. First time girls shop in Victoria secret isnt an easy thing either. lol Training bra to sexy lingerie that is a story in itself. Have a great day!
Hi Kenny,My mom sent me the link to your page when it was first featured on msn and I have been reading every now and again ever since. I haven\’t commented at all, because I feel like anything I have to say would be very repetitive of what other people have already posted. However, I was driving in my car the other day, listening to one of my favorite songs, and I thought of you. You know when you hear a song and it feels like it was written just for you? That\’s how I feel about this song, and I think you will, too. Music always helps get me through the hard days and enhances the happy ones. I hope it does the same for you.Third Eye Blind – The BackgroundTake care,Katie
I get this whenever I walk into a hardware or automotive store. Seems most think that because I\’m a woman I don\’t know what I\’m looking for!Great story!Have a great day!
I have definately felt like a fish out of water on more than one occasion. I am glad to hear that someone else has experienced it too.
Hi, Jen told me about this. I can\’t stop reading them. I wanted to say hi, without calling, not to intrude. I did not want you to have to do the bullshit-polite hello, if you were not in the mood. I know too many people assume their visit would be just what you need. NOT. I just wanted to say hi. This blog is amazing. I hope to hear from you soon.
Look at that! You are a feature again! Congrats!
I stumbled upon your blog today and just thought I would tell you how inspirational your story is. As a twenty year old, I cannot imagine being in your situation and being unable to move at all. You are in the prime of your life: you had just begun to find yourself when you had your accident and now find yourself asking, "What am I going to do now?" I applaud you for your hope…stay positive and you will go far!
jeje that\’s a good one… u made me laugh thnx have a nice day hugs and kisses from Peru…;)
I know that you\’ve received a multiple of "love your blog" comments but I felt compelled to leave one more. Oh, and uh.. you haven\’t posted an entry in 3 days. We, your fan base, need a fix! You\’re a gifted writer, you should think about doing it professionally.
I felt out of place today when I went to the BANK?? I was up really late last night, but I was supposed to come in and sign some paperwork real quick for my retirement account. When I woke up, I realized that I had just enough time to drive there and back plus maybe 10 or 15 minutes; so I just threw on a hoodie, my comfy fleece pants and some tennis shoes.I was sitting in the waiting area for 10 minutes before anyone even came to see what I needed. I got out in the next five minutes, but I was so shocked. Guess I\’ll make sure to spruce myself up for all of my trips to the bank from now on…:0) Jenine
I\’m looking at my watch and I believe your 15 minutes should have ended about, oh….a month ago. Instead, you\’re featured again. Congratulations, gorgeous!Kelly
Hey- back from my vacation- gotta say- missed reading your entries. and yes- i have been SO LOST. Glad the lady at Tiffany was nice to you- see there are decent people out there- I cannot stand it when people out on airs like they are this or that and who are YOU to be in THERE? Makes me want to act out. hahahah It only shows their insecurities that they have to pretend they are something they aren\’t. I mean- they are working in the store, they don\’t own it….. I do that with snotty waiters too- when they act all uppity (spelling??) ) I am like- you work for tips- right? just checkin\’….. See, I used to wait tables and am so over people acting like that. I know exactly how incredibly easy it is to smile and take the food away and get new food- cause see, I worked for tips and you make the customer happy… you get cashola…. anyway, catching up on reading and entering. I put some new photos on as well AND I have music- I am big time now! Later gator off to read and enter…. might do a waitress blog- do I have some stories…..Katherine
Ok, this is going to sound wierd, but my aunt has a space that I think you would really like, and appreciate. She is a great woman, and she loves your blogs. In fact, she has turned us all into fans of yours! http://spaces.msn.com/members/suroundedbynuts/PersonalSpace.aspx
:)just saying hi.
LMAO….. The snooty side of life. To funny. I have had moments like that where all eyes are on you and you feel like digging a hole and sticking your head in it. Have a great day and maybe some day you will actually respond to one of my comments so I can make your siggy for you. I mean incase you didnt realize I have a thing at my space called "Member of the Week" and you won it a few weeks back. The prize I give to all winners is a siggy I make for them. Well let me know and if not then I guess I will wait till ya do. Have a great night:o)~~Anne~~
I really can\’t belive that I missed your SPACE and never came here before !!So great to meet you … I should be very pround to Visit as I will do often for Sure ,,,Being in here give me HOPE That nothing is impossible :-)GOOD LUCK ,,,*I am sure you can\’t comment for all the huge amount of visitors,but I\’ll be passing by JUST TO LET YOU KNOW I AM HERE …LOVE,,~REEM~
Love your blogs and can\’t wait for the next one Sharpie – ! We were at a party earlier this year and the girl got a b-day gift from Tiffany\’s and I gotta tell ya she was getting ready to throw the box out -not the gift obviously, but just the box- and I was like wait! I even like the boxes from there! I love that color – I think Martha Stewart has toned it down a bit -thanks Martha really come on- but I had the store mix me up a batch, add the spunk back into the color and painted my whole studio with it – it is a cool antique color! I\’m not being materalistic but I will did go into the paint store and say hey, can you mix me up a gallon of that Tiffany\’s box color! They look at me like, "Huh, Hilton or something!" AHHH! I did get a bride\’s maids gift from Tiffany\’s and I lost it – go figure – My best to you~ love the writing -patti
heyi know that feeling.. i have to go through it at uni… i have class with all these rich kids and i get the feeling i look like an outsider.. i guess my black hair makes me stand out just that little bit more! btw, i read some of your stuff.. you\’re an excellent writer.. i like the way you can capture emotion in words……
wikid blog there!! hah, thats sweet you wanted to get her a nice presie!! lolzaaaaTaRa
We have this hardware store in Canada, Canadian Tire. Ever since i moved out on my own it has become my favourite place. one day i went with one of my friends and had a few questions about a purchase i was going to make. i found a clerk and started asing him questions. At first i thought i was imagining it, but every time i asked a question, he\’d turn to answer to my friend Ryan. Of course Ryan has a confused look on his face cuz he has no idea what the guy is talking about (he wasn\’t really paying attention to the convo). As we walk away, my friend makes a comment about the guys behaviour. "thank God you noticed too! i thought i was just being paranoid!" That has now become a joke between us…. i\’m assuming the guy wasn\’t answering me because i was a girl. if he knew my friend was gay, who would he have turned to then?
That is not right how people do that they need their behinds whipped a CAN OF WHOOP…..YUR BEHIND LOL…SOME PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID!
This is how i feel every shift at the store i work at, thats probably because im a 17 year old petite female. I work at a hardware store, which my uncle owns, so to help out the family, and as dad says "bring me out of my shell" i got the job as hardware store assistant. And may i tell you i get some very strange looks from the builders, electrians, plumbers and other men who come into the shop. Its like there almsot embaressed to ask me for my assistance. Some male ego\’s are unbelevable!love,peace nad a big toothy smilecasxxoox
🙂 I work in Jewellery.. and see first hand "customer distress" every day.. atleast you know the arrogant ones are the oxygen theives not you.. Oh by the way, did you notice your October archive is empty?.. mmm…