There is something that a lot of people don’t know about me- I have a super power.  It isn’t the most amazing one around, and I have zero control over it, but there you go.  I am invisible.  I am sure that many of you out there are shaking your heads in bemusement.  “What is she talking about?”  But I assure you it is true.  I am invisible.

How do I know this? How can I tell that I am invisible?  It has been evident for some time that I have the ability to become invisible.

Walking through any of those Beauty departments at the Bay or Sears and I am invisible to the sales staff.  Numerous times I have walked right up to a counter intent on purchasing some item, and the staff have ignored me.  At first I thought that this was because they were just lazy, and didn’t want to work, but as is often the case, another customer would approach the counter after me and the staff would rush to serve them.  So I must be invisible.

Those perfume Nazis, who line the paths between the makeup booths spraying their scent and handing out their cards rarely see me.

At first, I thought that it was a personal indictment that somehow I didn’t look like a potential customer.  I didn’t understand what it was that led them to this conclusion, but I thought it was me.  Sure I was clean, decently dressed, but maybe I gave off a bad vibe…

But a lot of thought on the matter on my part, and through working retail myself, led me to my invisibility theory. When I was working at BiWay, we were given a “loss-prevention” seminar.  We were told that even in a store which does not offer close customer service like ours, we had to greet each customer as we saw them.  A person entering the store was either a potential customer or theif.  Clients were welcomed by our greeting, and thieves were dissuaded by our acknowledging their presence.

So entering a higher end retailer like the Bay and not being greeted? And for cosmetics, which are not self-serve, and assistance is required to obtain a sale- how could it be anything but invisibility?

Of course my invisibility is not limited to the Bay or Sears- I am not picking on them alone.  I have numerous examples to share!  I went to the Sony Store to get a new walkman (so this was a while ago).  My old one had died, and my dad was in the hospital and bored out of his tree.  I needed to replace it asap.  It was daytime, and the store was empty of customers, but there were four salesmen behind the counter chatting up a storm.  I went straight to the walkmans, ready to buy.  They ignored me.  I tried to get their attention- “Hey,” throat clearing, the works.  5 minutes I waited.  Finally I was leaving the store when another clerk, back from her break came running in and served me.  The four just stared.  I hope there was commission.

I needed to buy a new television, so I went to the Future Shop.  It wasn’t very busy, but there were sales people about when I went to the tv section of the store. I went through their stock and saw one I thought would suit my needs, but there were not boxes on the floor of that model.  So I start looking for a clerk.  Disappeared.  I decided then to leave. As I go down the escalator towards the front door there are a group of male clerks chatting away about vaginas.  No I am not kidding. I had to have been invisible; I mean how else can you explain this?

And yes I complained to the company, and they apologised, and hoped to see me in the future.  Right.

Last example: Le Chateau.  For some reason I love this store.  Not sure why, but I do.  They have nice clothes, many made in Canada. Sure they stock more XXS than any other size, which makes no sense considering the average size of a Canadian woman, but there have been some occasions when I have found some lovely items for my wardrobe. Now here is where my invisibility has a 75% chance of working.  If I am at the one at Hull it goes up to 90%.  I was looking for a ball gown, and saw one at the Hull location.  But since I am invisible there I went to other locations to see if they had this dress in stock.  No such luck.  So back to the Hull location.  I got the dress of the rack and went in search of a dressing room.  Normally Le Chateau likes to supervise their dressing rooms.  Not here, I am invisible.  I tried it on without assistance.  And God, it was utterly perfect.  I wanted it, so I went up to the counter to pay.  There were two staff visible at the back end of the store, chatting.  This time though, I was not the only invisible one, there was a lady ahead of me, with a blouse in her hands.  After five minutes she left in disgust.  I stayed, not because they deserved the sale, but because the dress was perfect.  After another 2 minutes or so a clerk came and rang up the sale.  Not graciously. 

So you can see how I can think I am invisible.  As super powers go, it sucks.