Yey! Happy December everybody! From now until Christmas Day I plan on eating nothing but mince pies, drinking nothing but mulled wine and listening to nothing but songs with the word 'Christmas' repeated in them, at least seven times. Well, I don't have any mince pies as of yet, but Marks and Spencer’s opened on the Champs Elysees last week, so I can supply myself from there. I've not been in yet because the crowds have been too big, but I reckon the initial buzz will have died down by this weekend, so I can go in and see what overpriced English treats they have.
As for the mulled wine, might have to supplement this liquid diet with the occasional
cup of tea or glass of water, as not sure I can waitress or look after kids
drunk. Well, I'm pretty sure I could do both actually, but the point is, I
shouldn't, so I'll restrain myself.
But the Christmas songs are a go-go! They have even started playing them at
the restaurant, but I'm finding it difficult to drown out the noise of annoying
customers asking me for pints of beer and spoons all the time; I'm struggling
to concentrate on Wham's timeless lyrics.
Oh I feel festive!
Actually, I'm afraid The Spirit of Christmas might have carried me away
somewhat... I may have gone ever so slightly overboard trying to get the eleven
year old (soon to be twelve year old) a suitable birthday present. It's her
birthday tomorrow and my only chance to go shopping was this afternoon. I was
thinking I could get her something small from a well-known cosmetics brand at
Sephora. The girls don’t own anything that doesn't have an expensive label
inside, and I figured the only way I could afford something 'good' would be if
I went down the cosmetics route...
I forgot what a complete gullible idiot I am when it comes to shopping for
make-up. As soon as I walk into a shop like Sephora, the wafts of expensive
perfume circulating round the air vents hit me full-on in the face, dazing me
and turning me into Clueless Consumer.
Most of my make-up shopping trips go like this:
"Can I help you Madame?"
"I'm just looking for a new moisturiser."
"Have you seen our Limited Edition Dazzling Radiance Bronzer?"
"I'm really only looking for-"
"It's made with real gold dust and it comes in a sparkly box,
"I'LL HAVE IT!!!"
I actually enjoy being sold to. I love it. Many a time I've hovered around a
make-up counter and if the salesgirl hasn't offered to sell me something
outrageous in two minutes, I've moved on, looking for someone who will
try and rip me off and sell me crap.
I walked past all the perfumes, trying to keep my head down.
'Don't look them in the eye. You'll end up buying three litres of men's
cologne.' I told myself firmly.
I made it past all the perfumes without interacting with anyone. But it was
difficult, thoughts kept popping into my head that I had to dismiss on Ridiculous Spending Grounds:
'I haven't had any perfume for about two months now... Stop it
woman! Keep a clear head! Get the bloody gift and get out!'
I arrived at the make-up section. Crowds of expertly made-up faces beamed at
me. Before one of them could ensnare me into their evil sales pitch, a shelf of
colourful boxes caught my eye. They were cute little gift sets, perfect for
teenagers and unfortunately priced for women in their thirties with a lot of
disposable income. My eye wandered over to the Benefit counter... 'Benefit-
perfect! I thought, 'Prettily-packaged and not a name to be sniffed at by a
fashion-conscious twelve year old.'
A smiley salesgirl appeared by my side. "Do you need any help?"
she asked me. (Obviously she asked me in French but I can't remember what the
French is. When I speak French it's like I'm possessed by the Holy Spirit and
speaking tongues: I have no memory of it whatsoever a few minutes later, all I
can remember is the general Gist of the conversation.)
I explained I needed to buy a present for a twelve year old. She had the
'perfect thing', it was a cute little gift set with lip gloss and eye shadow
in. While it was perfect, it was also thirty six euros. I tactfully told her I
was looking to spend a bit less than that, because I was an au pair and it was
for the girl I look after.
"Around twenty euros." I said.
Twenty euros!? I wasn't planning on spending over ten euros, but there's a
confident, rich girl who lurks in the deepest recesses of my personality and
she comes out unexpectedly when I'm talking to salesgirls or browsing expensive
make-up counters. I think her name is Tasmin and I can't control her.
Tasmin seemed to think twenty euros was the appropriate amount to spend on a
little girl who you don't really know and who doesn't really like you. She
asked the salesgirls if they had anything for the lips? This might be a good
idea for a girl who is just starting to like make-up? (Tasmin can also speak
quite good French.)
The salesgirl showed Tasmin a range of lip glosses, including Benetint which
is really a lip balm and that I already have myself. I happen to know it's not
suitable for twelve year olds because it turns your lips as red as roses, but
the salesgirls showed Tasmin a new version they have of it, a double-ended wand
with Benetint on one end and clear gloss on the other.
"It's not too red, it looks like the lip's natural colour." the
salesgirl told me.
Lies, I knew it was lies. So did Tasmin. But Tasmin doesn't care if she's
being lied to. She just doesn't want to lose face, ever, so she will never back
out of a sale. Once you've let the salesgirls sell to you, you're in it until
the end. There's no backing out.
It was twenty two euros. But at least we didn't have to explain to the
salesgirl that we'd changed our minds. I left Tasmin in Sephora and went to
Monoprix, where I spent thirteen euros on Milka chocolate, coloured tissue
paper, a gift bag, cellotape and a birthday card.
Why has God cursed me with this Catastrophic Ineptitude for Finances!?
On the bright side, maybe the eleven/twelve year old will like me now.
I'm not holding out much hope. If only I could get Tasmin out more often, I
bet they'd bloody love her.