Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Brush With Quixtar

I said I wouldn't post about Quixtar anymore, but reading through Standing Order Tapes (link on sidebar) reminded me of an experience I had last month. I'll also quote the things that reminded me.

My ESS meetings are always at 8:00 PM on Thursdays in a certain lounge in the GBJ Student Center on campus. I arrived early from dinner with my girlfriend and decided to chill in the lounge and read until the other members arrived. I opened the door and walked in to find all of our couches and tables pushed to one side of the room, with a bunch of chairs arranged presentation-style towards one wall. A guy and a girl, both rather attractive and charismatic, were putting the room together for some kind of show. I noticed several things that made me immediately realize it was Quixtar:
1. They were both well-dressed, like they were going to a formal. The guy was clean-shaven. He didn't even have any stubble, so he had shaved recently. Close-cropped, gelled and styled hair. He had an earring hole but no earring. "Your look is key. You must dress ‘successfully’, for men, you should not have facial hair. Tongue rings are certainly a no no. No long hair, no piercing, etc. Doug talks about wearing his ‘uniform’. 'Dress a step above and better than the people you are around.'"
2. They had those irritating flashcard packets sitting on the table. They also had some books and other motivational supplies ready-at-hand. "Jake says, "This is the number one secret: The Britt System…You must learn how to promote and edify…if you will plug into it at all cost, it will give you life and a life of more abundance.' And Doug confirms, 'I also figured out that the Britt System was the key, and if I was going to sponsor people, I had to have the books and tapes to get them started right.'"
3. They had some Quixtar-brand foods, all half-consumed (or thrown away/poured out) around their stations, like they'd been enjoying a snack. "Doug pounds hard on personal use, suggesting that people are not getting in their business because they do not believe. Doug even tells people plainly to buy products they do not have a use for so that they can at least say they use it. Jake confirms with a joke about panty-hose."

I stood in the door for a little, surveying the scene, when they finally notice me.
"Are you here for the meeting?" Asked the girl. She and the fella put on huge grins and opened their body posture immediately.
"No, actually, I have a meeting here in a half-hour."
"Oh," replied the guy. "Well, if you wanted this room you should have reserved it..." He glanced at the reservation board. "Oh wow... I see..." He looked really uncomfortable, but he still tried to hold that grin.
"Do you REALLY need the room?" The girl asked, smiling as sweetly as ever. I think she might've even given me Bambi eyes.
"Yeah, we reserved it."
"Oh, ok. We'll get right out of your way, then." The guy packed up his bag, picking up the food and making sure I saw the labels before he put it away. They moved towards the exit. He looked at me expectantly. "You want me to move these back to where they were?" I stopped, wondering why he didn't just do it, since he had messed it up.
"I guess it's fine if you don't... if you're in a hurry..."
"Nonsense," he replied. "I'd be glad to do it." He didn't move yet, however.
"One last thing," she began, "Would you be interested in an opportunity for free money?"
"No, thank you," I replied. Her smile fell.
"What do you mean, no? Don't you like money?" The guy shifted uncomfortably next to her.
"Not if I'm earning it through an MLM."
"MLM? What's that?" She almost sounded honest.
"Multi-Level Marketing? You guys are with Quixtar, right?"
She placed her hands on her hips, pouting at me indignantly. "Oh, you think you know about that, huh?"
"I know enough about it. I know it's not something I want to do."
"Well, that's fine," The guy said. If I were close enough, he might have pattted me on the head. "This kind of opportunity is not for everyone. It's understandable if you don't want to take it." They left, leaving behind the mess of chairs and tables for me to fix.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Is what the clerk at Parisian said to me. She then looked so frightened and worried that she had to turn around and hide her eyes. I was concerned about it, but I soon remembered what had happened. In Alabama, there has been a massive boycott organized by fundamental Christians who believe that any store whose clerks do not greet their customers with "Merry Christmas" must be deprived of their customers. They've boycotted Wal-Mart, Target, and many stores at the mall here in Huntsville, Alabama.
Now, I can be forgiving of this ridiculous venture as long as nobody actually takes them seriously... after all, what harm is saying two little words? Unfortunately, they're not so forgiving about forgetting to say them. My mother, who works at GAP at one of the malls in Huntsville, thanked a customer after ringing her up by saying, "Thank you very much," with a genuine smile. She turned around to put some hangers in a bin, thinking the transaction was over. The woman reached over the counter, grabbed her arm and squeezed it, and said, "You mean Merry Christmas," with malice and a glare. I think that before they ask to be pandered to they should work on their attitude.

I read a guy (we'll call him B. Johnson) who explained the inappropriateness of their protest against the "Happy Holidays" catch-all this season. I pasted an excerpt below:

The vast majority of the born-again-Christians who are so uptight about Happy Holidays vs Merry ChristMASS have no use for the theology of transubstantiation which is the basis of the mass celebrated by devout Roman Catholics. When the priest blesses the the bread/wafer and the wine, they immediately become the flesh and blood of Jesus. So if these born-again-pro-tes-tant Christians are so strongly opposed to the doctrine of transubstantiation, why they so agressively promoting ChristMASS in preference to Happy Holidays?

To be honest, they can do what they want with their energies. If this is makes them feel productive, it's better than them pushing the Moral Majority agenda over the holidays. I just worry about independent businesses who will be hurt financially because they would rather be inclusive...