Archive for March, 2017

A Tale of Two Stores

So once upon a time, an employer and I went to check out this pottery outlet store. Walking in, it embodied everything I hate about certain American stores. The second we walked in, we were swarmed by a couple of women who claimed they were too busy to tell us about the product, yet one stayed and proceeded to blubber on and on. We said we knew about the product but she had to finish this prepared speech she had. We wandered a bit through aisles and aisles of a product that felt cheapened but the quantity they had available. (My employer is convinced it actually was a knock off but it’s hard for me to tell if it that belief was based from product or simply by presentation. I’m willing to trust her as she knows the product.) And we had to sit through a similar speech 3 times before we left 10 minutes later. They would not leave us alone. I will never go back because I hate being harangued by sales people.

Compare that with the experience I had at another Polish pottery store. It is a bit of a drive, about 30 minutes more one way than the other store, but I’ve been there twice so far. We walked in. There’s one salesman behind the counter. He nods hello and continues with what he’s doing. After we’ve browsed a couple of moments, he gets up and silently walks around the store a little. Not where we are, but it made him feel available to questions. My dad asked him about what different pots were created for and he was so knowledgeable about it all. Definitely products he personally used on a regular basis. No prepared speech. I went back this week to grab a couple of other pieces, including a jug to make sauerkraut in. Once again, he was talkative after I had initiated a conversation and he had so many practical tips for making sauerkraut. Talked about his own experiences. Things he had tried that were definitely right or wrong. All with a charming Polish accent, friends demeanor. Definitely worth the drive there. Plus his prices were actually the same or cheaper as the overstocked outlet. They do most of their business online, so if you’re in the market for beautifully created and very durable pottery, do visit

Can we get back to this practice of letting people browse in peace. I promise, I buy more when I’m left alone. When you bug me, I grab what I absolutely have to have… or leave empty handed because you’ve made me so uncomfortable and violated. The best part is with that European approach – and yes, I have witnessed it in multiple places, particularly in Europe – it meets different peoples needs. I can have my quiet browsing time and, someone like my mom, if she knows to initiate contact, can have all of the conversation she prefers. There are plenty like me too and you’re doing your store a disservice. 

Pasts and Histories

I was recently¬†reintroduced to¬†an idea that I first learned about in college 10 years ago. Christians are claiming they’re “revirginized” after a divorce or breakup. HUH? First, there is an actual medical procedure you can undergo to physically do this, but these people are claiming it as an emotional state of being. The first place I heard the concept was in a program at my conservative college. I remember thinking that it was a ridiculous concept. The speaker had recently gone through a bad divorce and I think it was her way of starting over. But what about her children? If I had been them, I would have felt that, in some ways, my mom regretted having me and she wanted her body back to the way it was before me. Even if it was a bad marriage, there had to be some good times, otherwise you shouldn’t have gotten married. If it was a horrible marriage, you got some wonderful daughters out of the deal. Now that I’m married myself, I’m even more bothered by it.

Why would you want to relabel yourself with a term that came with fear of the unknown? The problem is multiple societies have place such a high value on female virginity, bringing on a huge gender double standard. There is no similar element for men. Sure, to a smaller effect, but history has so emphasized the importance of feminine virginity vs. male virginity (young men being dragged to prostitutes by their fathers to make them a “man”), it’s difficult to escape. Our society today has swung to the opposite extreme. All or nothing. Sex being thrown away as nothing instead of being valued.

For me, there’s so much more power in someone choosing to live a celibate life. It’s not that you don’t know what you’re missing out on. There’s nothing to run and hide from. But there’s something of value as well. It’s not an act to be disregarded by either female or male. Whether to engage or not is a personal choice. We have to stop seeing it as black & white. A choice to take a break from sexual relationships is exactly that. A Choice. Not a return to a previous state. Learn from mistakes you’ve made; regard them because they matter. It’s through our difficult times that we experience the most growth. Take life experiences & use them to grow. Embrace them.