A Women’s Store for Clueless Men
He was totally lost in the women’s lingerie section, and hopelessly frustrated. His wife’s birthday was just two days away, and Roy had no idea what to buy her. He had driven by this particular store several times on the way to work, and chuckled at its name, A Women’s Store for Clueless Men. Now he figured it was time for him to go inside; he was about as clueless as any man could be.
“May I be of service to you, sir?” the well-dressed salesman asked. “If you don’t mind my saying so, you look a bit lost.”
“No, I don’t mind. I am lost, and I am a dead man if I don't buy the right gift this time.”
“This time, sir?”
“Yes. Two years in a row, my wife has returned my gifts. She made it clear that if I don't buy something appropriate this time, she'll start buy herself her own gifts. I just want to make her happy and keep her off my case.”
“Well, sir, you have come to the right place. We specialize in helping men make the right purchase for their wives or girlfriends… or both,” he replied with a wink. “Do you have an appointment?”
“An appointment?” he asked. “Do I need an appointment to shop here?”
“Sir, we know from experience that men who shop alone often end up with ill-advised gifts and upset partners. I suspect that you made your previous purchases without consultation. Am I right?”
“Well, yeah! That’s how I got in trouble.”
“Exactly, sir. If I may, let me show you around the store and tell you how things work, and then I will set you up with an interview.”
“Interview? I need to be interviewed to buy a gift for my wife?”
“Sir, we cannot advise you on your purchases unless we know more about you, and in particular, more about your wife, now can we?”
“I don’t know. It seems rather strange.”
“Trust me, sir. Once I show you around the store, you'll be much more comfortable and eager to do the interview. Shall we begin?”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Let start with introductions. My name is John, and I own this store. And you are?”
“My name is Royal. Call me Roy.”
“Okay, Roy. Now you've managed to find the lingerie department. This is the last place you want to start--very inappropriate for a birthday gift. More of a special occasion type of gift, but I'll explain that later. Just remember this rule of thumb; sexy lingerie is a gift for you, not for her.”
“Oh. I see. I think.”
John continued as they toured, “You should've started with our card department. I'll introduce you to the manager. Mary! Would you come here, please?”
A smart looking woman dressed in a suit marched over and extended her hand, “Hello, I am Mary, the Card Department Manager.”
“Mary is one of several women consultants that I employ and an expert on what women expect in a card. Tell us, Roy, what has been your experience with buying cards?”
Roy thought for a minute, “Well, I hate to buy cards. They are a waste of time and money. I never seem to get one that my wife likes, and she always says that I never spend enough time choosing the right one.”
“Exactly!” John said. “That is where we come in. Mary and the rest of my women consultants have spent hours selecting cards guaranteed to make your wife’s heart go pitter-pat. You don't pick out a card. Mary selects the right card for you. Then after you give your wife the card, you send us her reactions via our website; we record it so that your next purchase is even better. If your wife isn't pleased, we'll gladly refund the cost of the card.”
But that's not the best part,” Mary added. “When you pay for the card, the receipt is date and time stamped. You must then make a separate purchase, a gift of some kind, and that is date and time stamped. Our patented computer program will randomly select a time between thirty minutes up to one hour so that it will appear that you purchased the card at least thirty minutes after you purchased the gift. You just make sure that the receipts are in the gift box. Oh, I might add, the program will add fifty dollars to the amount of the gift, so it appears that you spent a lot of money on the gift.”
“Thank you, Mary. Now let us go over to the jewelry department. Jane, would you come here, please?” As Mary ambled back to her department another woman introduced herself.
“Hello, I'm Jane, the Manager of the Jewelry Department. As you know, buying jewelry is a tough decision. Women have particular tastes in jewelry with many types and styles. We recommended that you take pictures of all your wife’s jewelry and her more dresser clothes. That way we can match up her style with her outfits for the perfect gift.”
“Wow! You people think of everything.”
“Yes, Roy,” John said. “And that’s why the interview is so important. We'll ask you about whether your wife has pierced ears or not, and her preference for gold or silver, her ring sizes, and so forth. We have to be thorough.”
“I don’t even know all that.”
“No, but you can find out. The interview is just a process. We continually improve upon our database. We record every purchase you make as well as the results. Then we can improve on your next purchase.”
“My problem is,” said Roy, “that I’m always forgetting dates of anniversaries, and things.”
“Not any more, Roy,” Jane said. “It all goes into our data base. Then, a week before you need a gift, we send you a reminder. We can even select the gift and card for you and deliver it to your office already wrapped. You just take it home and give to your wife.”
“Now step this way into our Clothing Department,” John said as he pointed the way.
“Oh, I steer away from clothes. I’m just not good at selecting clothes for my wife.”
“No man is,” John answered. “However, it is our specialty. We can make this work for you. True story--we once had a customer who insisted that he did not need our help to buy clothes. One day he picked out a nice outfit for his wife. It was lovely, the correct size, and she loved it. Two weeks later, he took her to a company social function. His secretary was there wearing the identical outfit. Needless to say, our client was soon divorced.”
“Oh, my gosh! Was it a coincident or was he having an affair?”
“I don’t know, Roy, but it was an avoidable mistake either way. During our interview process, along with recording your wife’s sizes, we'll ask you what magazines your wife reads. That'll tell us what her exposure has been and something about her style, tastes and expectations. Then when you buy clothes, we make sure it is something she has seen in her magazines.
“You can tell what a woman wants by the magazines she reads?”
“You’d be surprised. Our research has developed entire lines of clothes for women who read, for example, Vogue, Business Week, or Field and Stream. We even have a line for People readers and National Geographic--very predictable and very accurate.”
“What about Playboy?” asked Roy.
“Don’t go there. I'm telling you, it’s a minefield. Forget it!”
“It all sounds expensive,” said Roy.
John smiled, “Can you put a price on happiness? Do you want to stay out of trouble? Now, if you are still interested, we can start the interview process and maybe recommend something today. Are you ready?"
Roy nodded, “Sounds good. I’ll do it!”
“Great!” John said. “Follow me then.”