Suggested wine for today’s entry: Ahhh, the return of 80-degree weather. Not a minute too soon. I just opened a bottle of 2006 Bivio Pinot Grigio that my friend Laura brought as a nice hostess gift to the January wine tasting. I have been hoarding it to drink on the terrace the first balmy night. And it’s perfect! “Bright, citrus flavors with a crisp, satisfying finish. A perfect complement to Asiago cheese, prosciutto-wrapped melon or grilled shrimp.” Now I just have to find some of those foods…
Before I begin, I would like to know who offered to host the next wine tasting. I am in need of new wines to recommend and have been home for nearly a week. Everyone is sick of me.
Now that I’m done with my three vacations in three months, I am focused and am actively waiting for the perfect job to fall into my lap. In the meantime, I have been very attuned to the careers of those around me and am doing visualization exercises to see how I’d do in those positions.
In case you’re not familiar with it, The Visualization Approach to Career And Trying It On Now (VACATION) model is effective in that the well-trained user is actually able to have a day on the job — you know, to see how it feels — while still going about their daily business. So I can try it on for size while sitting on the beach.
Yesterday, I went to Walmart. Normally, I tune out the annoying hick who makes announcements, except when she gets all animated, then I try to figure out if her breathless whisper is really the Walmart code for “there’s a gunman in Aisle 7.” But it’s usually just something dumb like, “We need to open a second checkout lane. Cashier to register 44.” (I think when they bought the conveyor belts they only needed two, but it was buy-one-get-24-free.)
As I browsed the sympathy cards, conveniently located under a 12-foot sign bearing the word CELEBRATE!, I listened with interest to the Voice on Walmart’s Loudspeaker. And I think I can do it.
Here is my interview with the big boss (again, in case you’re not following me, this is purely a visualization exercise):
Him: Wow. You are one smokin’ hot chick! (Look, if it’s happening in my head, I get to make up the dialogue. You can have your own interviews.) What makes you think you’re qualified to be the Voice on Walmart’s Loudspeaker though?
Me: Well, I’ve been talking since I was about 18 months old. I practice every day and have gotten, if I may say so myself, quite good at it. Just ask my animals.
Him: How do you think you can improve the current VOWL position?
Me: I have tremendous ideas to expand the scope of the loudspeaker’s capabilities. I’d propose that you build me an office above the store — the entire store — with one-way mirrors for the floor. That way, I can also stroll around and assist with security. Like if I see someone eating grapes out of their bag before they’ve had them weighed, I’ll call them out on it. Or if a runny-nosed little child is trying to lift a Polly Pocket over in Toys, I’ll make an announcement to stop it.
Him: What kind of announcement can you make to stop a shoplifter?
Me: Like, I’d say, ATTENTION WALMART SHOPPERS. IF YOU ARE THE PARENT OF THE GENDER-CONFUSED SNOT ROCKET IN AISLE 15 TRYING TO JACK A MINIATURE DOLL, PLEASE REPORT TO THE GERIATRIC MAN BY THE DOOR WHO GAVE HIM THE HAPPY FACE STICKER. THIS 90 YEAR OLD WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHASING YOU ALL DOWN WHEN THE LITTLE CRAP BOLTS FROM THE STORE WITH THE TOY, AND IT WOULD BE NICE TO GIVE HIM A LITTLE HEAD START. THANK YOU.
Him: Hmmm…I see what you mean. That could work, and I’ve always been a fan of mirrored ceilings.
Me: Well, if you’re trying to hit on me, I should tell you I’m happily married. And I’ll need to see your W-2 from last year before I consider any changes to that status.
Him: Yes, good. Any other ideas for the position?
Me: Oh, now you’re gonna get graphic? To get back to the mirrors — speaking as professionals, sir — I think we’ll sell a lot more sunglasses if they can use the whole ceiling to check them out. Those 1/2-inch slivers of mirror on the display turnstile don’t do jack shoot (remember, it’s an interview).
Him: Wow you’re good!
Me: I’ll also bring some realism to the position … transparency, if that word doesn’t make you want to barf on your brown sunny apron yet … by telling the TRUTH at all times. Like right now. I could say, ATTENTION WALMART SHOPPERS, LANE 3, THE SPEEDY CHECKOUT LANE, IS OPEN FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH LESS THAN 20 ITEMS. PLEASE ONLY USE THIS LANE IF YOU ARE ABLE TO COUNT TO 20. WELL, ACTUALLY, THE LANE WILL BE OPEN AFTER THE WOMAN WITH … LET’S SEE, THAT’S 37, 38, DON’T FORGET THE BEER LODGED UNDER YOUR STRATEGICALLY PLACED SWEATER, GOOD, 39, 40 … OH, OF COURSE YOU NEED CIGARETTES TOO. SHOPPERS, FEEL FREE TO MAKE YOUR WAY OVER TO LANE 3, SHE’S ALMOST DONE … JUST AS SOON AS SHE GETS THE GUM OFF HER COUPONS SO THEY CAN BE SCANNNNNNNNNED. THERE! OH WAIT, NO, MA’AM, I THINK IT’S PRETTY CLEAR WHY YOU CAN’T USE FOOD STAMPS FOR BEER AND CIGS, WE’LL JUST NEED TO VOID THAT AND THAT … ATTENTION WALMART SHOPPERS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE THE U-SCAN-IT AISLES IF YOU HAVE LESS THAN 20 ITEMS.
Him: Wow. Transparency. I like that. Giving an honest shopping experience … that’s the Walmart way.
Me: I’m not done. Then I’d call for security to whoop up on that lady for Speedy Checkout violations and Attempt to Buy Derelict Products With Taxpayer Dollars. But when I call security, I’ll say it like se-curr-ity, like that chick on U-Tube.
Him: I’m not familiar with …
Me: But wait, there’s more. I would also like to make the VOWL a revenue-producing position.
Him: You are the best. I can’t believe I didn’t hire you 20 years ago.
Me: I was still in diapers. But listen up, dawg (I like to add a contemporary flair to my interviews, lest people think that my giant brain leaves me out of touch with today’s society) — how about if I sell advertising in my announcements? And I’m not talking stupid, low-level stuff like running the audio from their TV ads, I’m talking true IN THEIR HEADS, subliminal advertising.
Him: Wow! You know how to do that?
Me: Totally. What if I sample products all day long and murmur like I think the microphone’s off? Like watch. (Here I’ll take up a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and crunch it loudly while uttering a few semi-sexual sounding y-u-m-m-ms.) Then I’d say, kinda quiet so they really have to listen, ‘hey, grab me some more of those Fruity Pebbles from Aisle 28, would you? Oh my gosh, it’s like a tropical paradise in my mouth. I even drooled some into my …
Him: Got it. You’re hired! When can you start?
Me: Well, actually, I should tell you that I have a couple vacations planned in upcoming months, so we’ll have work around those. I expect I’ll be paid. I mean, how can I be a cheerful voice if I haven’t heard a reggae band sing “Who Let the Doogs Out?” recently?
This visualization offered a MUCH better result than the school crossing guard, that resulted in hives from the children, wheezing from the car exhaust and leg pain from standing too long.
If you’re looking for ways to try on a career before you buy it, just let me know. I do VACATION training on the side.