Saturday, January 16, 2010

Orange Alert

They attack out of nowhere. They are quick. They are aggressive. They are relentless. And they have plenty of backup.

The Taliban?


They are far more clever than the Taliban. They are the I.M.M., more commonly known as the Israeli Mall Militia. Even more commonly known as the annoying hand lotion salespeople in the aisles of American malls.

The IMM use guerilla warfare on unsuspecting shoppers. They start by asking to see a shopper's hands. The next thing you know, the soldier is removing the shopper's nail polish and the interrogation begins.

"Do your nails always look this bad?"

"Don't you want your hands to look better than those of a rhinoceros?"

Before the shopper realizes it, she has handed over money for a tool resembling a miniature eraser that cost about a nickel to make and usually sells for $40. But, because the soldier "likes her:, he sells it to the victim for $29.99. (But he tells her not to tell anyone that he gave you the employee discount.)

It was raining today, so my friend Becca and I decided to walk at Columbiana Mall, a location with two known IMM camps. Having both been victims of this group, we were on orange alert. We knew if we could make it by one of their kiosks without making eye contact, we'd have a decent chance of survival. But that does not guarantee your freedom.

IMM's most recent tactic is to hold their product directly in front of your eyes as you are walking. If you are trying NOT to make eye contact (which we were), you could conceivably run right into the product. That happened twice today. When I noticed a missile heading for my face I ducked away just in time to hear an IMM soldier say, "Can I see your hands?"

We tried to divert them with the old "No hablo Ingles" line. But unfortunately, the IMM guerillas receive a discount from the Rosetta Stone kiosk and were quick to say "Yo habla Espanol!", followed by what must have been "Can I see hands" in Spanish.

I'm happy to say we survived the trip uninjured.

Albeit with dull fingernails on hands with very dry skin.

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