in Satire

I Survived Being Embarrassed in Neiman Marcus

Ever had that nightmare where you appear in public in your underwear?   John Hain

My nightmare occurred fully dressed in Neiman Marcus’ downtown Dallas store.

At the time I worked there in cramped quarters sequestered away from the main store. Our department’s function was to make sure Chanel looked like Chanel and the store maintained its elegant ambience.

My boss was the devil who didn’t wear Prada. Arriving to work in her Jaguar, she swept into the office swathed in mink. What she lacked in status she excelled in her ability to kiss the behind of whoever was in charge of the store.

Two men and I served as her staff hostages. She had zero common sense, even worse communication skills and no reservations about throwing us under the bus. She was mean as a badger and thrived on belittling and humiliating her staff.

On her weekly jaunt to inspect the various departments of the store, it was my job to follow her and take notes. The salespeople had no clue I disliked her as much as they did and damned me by association. Shopping in the store required nerve, but arrogant salespeople were no match for a sale combined with the employee discount. I ignored the eye rolls as I ran my fingers over the Bottega Veneta tote I would have sold the cat to own. I avoided the associate in the shoe department who behaved as though he descended from the monarchy.

Our department was not required to participate in the annual inventory, but our leader never passed an opportunity to suck up to upper management and volunteered her staff to help. The guys were assigned to inventory the shoe department and I got the Baccarat crystal.

Glass shelves lined the walls displaying acres and acres of crystal. The manager of the Baccarat greeted me with the same enthusiasm he’d extend a dead mouse.

I approached a shelf, removed a piece of crystal to note its vital statistics. In slow motion, a domino effect complimented the thunderous symphony of each glass shelf floating to the floor, sending thousands of dollars of Baccarat crystal to shards. As I stood in the middle of the sparkling, expensive volcano of crystal, I could feel every eye in the store on me. Fate could have smiled on me and rendered a sympathy inducing bloody gash or two, but I did not receive so much as a scratch. A prayer to vaporize went unanswered and I was stuck at the scene of the crime.

Investigation revealed the display was improperly mounted. It was an accident waiting to happen. It could have happened to anyone, even my evil boss, but no one other than the employees within earshot would ever know this.

The next day I dreaded going to work and facing the devil and her scathing review of the inventory caper.  When I arrived at work, a basket of broken glass topped by a big bow sat on my desk, along with an invitation to lunch from my two work companions. Our boss did not utter a word.

Showing up in public in your lingerie ain’t that big a deal.