Liar, Liar, Pants on… Ooo, Shiny!

I’m working at the Hebrew Book Fair, as I told you guys a few days ago, but I’ve been tossed around a couple of times since then, from one sales area to another. I was moved from outside the mall to inside the store, and then from there I was stolen by a very nice woman with dark hair to work with her in the little area right outside the store that’s separate from it but still owned by the same company. Confused? Yeah, so was I. Anyway, none of this is really relevant.

I’m now acting as a boss/manager even though I’m still paid minimum wage. I get to be in charge of the register at the end of the day, as well as the two seventeen-year old high school kids who are working with me.

That’s not the point either. The point is that Book Week, as lovely a concept as it is, is about sales. Pure and simple. It’s about making money. Whenever a certain book isn’t selling, I need to start recommending it to customers after having just read the back cover or inside flap. I need, in short, to lie about having read and liked books. I’m not above an occasional white lie, but in this case… well, it bothers me. As a reader, I want sales-clerks’ honest opinions about books, and I don’t want to cause anyone to buy a book they might not enjoy.

But bookstores are businesses, and the cash register needs to show a certain amount of profit every day. Still, while I’ve recommended books that I haven’t read, I’ve only told people that I’d heard good things about the book. I also never tried to foist a book on someone who didn’t want it after I showed it to them. And, most importantly, I still recommend the books I know and love most of all.

How do you feel about lying, or at least bending the truth and exaggerating, in order to make sales? Have you done it before? Do you feel guilty or do you see it as all part of the job?

Whatever (Flash Fiction/Character study/something)

“Jessica!”

“What? I mean, sorry, yes, Mr. Jacobs?” I ask. I try to hide my phone underneath a mess of clothes on the counter. If he sees me texting again, I’m going to get fired, I just know it.

“There’s a woman right over there who’s looking at the very pricey dress-rack,” he says, smiling like he always does when he’s super-angry. He’s so creepy! “Don’t you think you should be over there? Helping her?

I sigh with relief. That’s all he wants. “I asked if she needed help, Mr. Jacobs!” I say earnestly, putting on what Jill, my co-worker, calls my suck-up face. “She told me she didn’t need any, thanks very much. Who am I to push her, right?” I think it’s an okay answer, but apparently Mr. Jacobs doesn’t.

“Well, if you haven’t noticed, young lady,” I hate this guy, I really do, “she also has a very big purse. Watch that she doesn’t steal anything!” He gives me that smile of his, with his eyebrows all sort of scrunched up and ugly – he plucks, you can so tell that he’s got a unibrow – and then he just stomps back to the back office where he spend most of his day arguing with his wife on the phone. Idiot.

I look over at the woman. She’s still looking at the dresses, putting her rich-lady hands all over them. I swore when I started working here that I’d never try on clothes again. I mean, have you seen how many people cough or rub their noses and then start feeling up the clothes? Gross!

Oh! Text. It’s Beverly again. We were texting before the idiot boss got on my case. She just sent a “?” because I haven’t answered yet. I text back: “Sry boss was here. So wut did u do last nite?”

She’s been trying to get me to ask that question all morning. She can be such a tease and a show-off. I don’t even know why I’m friends with her, but whatever, she works in the designer clothing store that’s also in the mall, on the floor above, and she’s bored too, so we text. I look over at the woman. She’s moved over the scarf section now. Wow, Mr. Jacobs was right, for a change! This one’s a stealer, I’d bet my nails on it.

I walk over and pretend to straighten the handbags that are near the scarves. The woman gives me this look – I hate rich people! She looks at me like I’m trash, just because I actually have to work, you know? Yuck. So what if my dad cut me off and my mom remarried to a loser who lost all his money gambling? That doesn’t make me any worse than this old biddy. Anyway, she’s rich but she’s going to steal something anyway. I know her type – they get a thrill out of it. I say she should just buy a baggie off my friend Tod and live it up at home with a bottle of mega-bucks wine and leave the stores alone.

I’m tailing her now, walking around and arranging everything she’s touched – I’ve got a bottle of hand-sanitizer behind the counter – and I think she’s getting annoyed, because she keeps sighing real deep and stuff. Ha- there! I just saw her let one of the weird necklaces we sell here fall into her bag!

“Mr. Jacobs!” I yell. “Come out here please!”

The woman’s really surprised by my yell, and she turns around to look at me, pretending to be calm. Mr. Jacobs runs out of his office, and asks me what’s up. “This lady,” I say. “She just put a necklace in her handbag. I saw her do it.”

“Alright, let me take it from here,” Mr. Jacobs says. He waves me away. What, now he’s not happy that I caught a thief in the act? Whatever, I’m quitting after my next paycheck anyway. I’m sick of working in this place.

Oh! Text. It’s Beverly. She says: “haha its a secret.” She’s such a – a – I don’t even know what to call her. I text back “whatever.” I don’t need her. I don’t need anyone. Everyone thinks I’m some kind of idiot, I swear.

Whatever. Seriously, to, like, everyone in the world – whatever.

My Spam Folder

So, here is what my email account spam folder contains. I always find it rather amusing to look at what I’ve been sent each day.

1. “Are YOU Interested? Ilana, you have 1 NEW Person Who Likes You…”

Yes, alright, this used to be a legitimate piece of mail until I started spamming the damn things. A couple years ago, when I was just getting to know Facebook, I somehow let some program called “Are YOU Interested?” get added to my Facebook applications, and even though I’ve tried erasing the damn thing, it haunts me with sad little messages like this. Whoopee, a NEW person likes me! How exciting!

2. “Smaller than you would like to be – Order your Men’s supplement today…”

Okay, first of all, I’m a woman. But whatever. What’s with the capitalized M? Is “man” a proper noun, now? Should I be saying that I am American and Israeli, and those two over there are Men?

3. Florene Dora – “Grow 3-inches more, Experience with BiggerPenis Today!”

Miss Dora, you need to learn grammar, honey, as well as word spacing and when it is proper to capitalize something. Proper nouns, beginning of sentences – learn your capitalization people!

4. Cleotilde Marcie – “15mg x 60 Codeine $264.00 (+4 FreeViagra Pills)”

As lovely as the name Cleotilde is (pretty sure it’s made up), I have no need to get high on codeine. Seriously, it’s sad that people have reduced cough medicine to an abused drug today. Oh, yeah, and I’m a woman (or is it Woman?) and I don’t need any Viagra, thanks.

5. “Proven to work in just weeks – Click here to find out about the revolution…”

See, I don’t open my spam emails, I just read the taglines. This one actually sounds interesting! There’s a revolution going on? A quick one, sold in a bottle? Can I set it to whatever I want? Maybe I could cause a revolution to fix the damned martial law situation in the Israeli Occupied Territories… Of course, if I opened this letter, it’d probably be: “Click here to find out about the revolutionary weight loss pills…” etc.

6. “Ten ways to make her moan in ecstasy…”

Pretty straightforward stuff, although what are they selling? I mean, it’s spam, there’s always money involved. I suppose there’s some manual or something. Or maybe just more Viagra. Yeesh.

7. Hilary Treena – “Now you can buy cializ and Enjoy! 30 pills x 20mg 89.95$…”

Another one who needs to learn how to spell. I had no idea what “cializ” was, so I looked it up. Of course, it’s Cialis, and it’s more erectile dysfunction stuff. Great. I’m a woman, people!!! And anyway, if I were a man and having difficulties, I think I would be nervous taking some knock-off pill that’s spelled wrong.

8. Sherita Angle – “Japanese movement – Large collection of BreitlingRo1ex, Movado…”

Oh, I get it. Ro1ex is actually Rolex? Why not spell it right? You spelled Movado correctly. I assume that this is an ad for fake watches. Seriously, Sherita, if I wanted fake watches, I’d go down to the flea market and buy fake watches. It’s not that hard to do, you know, I don’t actually need the fake privacy of ordering them online…

In conclusion:

Spam-bots are dumb. Spam is stupid. I have no idea how anyone would actually fall for one of these deals and give credit card details to fake companies that will just steal all their money. But hey, spam is a good source of original names for characters, right?


A College Essay

Months ago, around September and October, my days were spent at work, studying to become a customer service rep, and at home, slaving away over essay after essay for the colleges I was applying to. I’ve been looking over them lately, and many are extremely similar since they were built over the same mold. Here is one, however, that I like because of its genuine explanation about why I’m so looking forward to college.

Many people, myself included, have a very hard time enjoying elementary and high-school education in and of itself. This is especially true here in Israel, where many school years begin with a teachers’ strike because our schools don’t get the funding they need, and thus teachers aren’t getting paid what they should. This, in turn, leads to ever-fewer people choosing teaching as a profession, which means that the teachers we students get are often there because teaching was their last resort, or  because they once wanted to be teachers, but the years of working in a zero-respect job with hardly more than blank paychecks have made them bitter.
Another reason why many people don’t enjoy their high-school education is because we don’t really get to choose what to study. Certain things are forced upon us and then taught in such a way that leaves them joyless, the necessity of studying them rendering them dull.
I tried, as much as possible, to enjoy my studies to the fullest despite the way they were taught. I tried to make history come alive despite the droning quality of my teacher’s voice, tried to make literature exciting despite how it was hacked to pieces and dissected in class as if that was the only way to analyze it, tried to make the hours of grueling math homework on the weekends be cathartic and a source of pride rather than an unbearable chore. I succeeded, sometimes. But it’s hard to be enthusiastic about your studies when there’s little help or support from the school.
This is why I am so excited to be going to college in the United States, and also why I am reluctant to choose a major straight off. I’m so enthusiastic and willing to explore different subjects for a year or two before declaring my major, and I feel that this will rekindle my passion for learning new things. I do know that I might well end up majoring in English – but then again, perhaps I will major in Writing or Psychology or maybe even Drama. My interests are varied and as of now, I cannot choose which field I want to study exclusively.