There is no humble way to say this, but I suddenly find myself very
popular. Wildly popular. Rock star popular.
I made a purchase at a department store, and the clerk pulled the
receipt out of the cash register and wrote her name at the bottom. I
thought for a moment maybe she wanted to do coffee. Strange, but we live
in strange times.
Then she asked if I would visit the Web site she had circled at the bottom of the
receipt and tell them about my shopping experience. It would mean a lot to her.
At the big box office supply store, the kid ringing up my new stapler, circled the
Web site at the bottom of the receipt and asked if I would visit it and fill out a
survey. They, too, wanted to know about my shopping experience.
I hadn't had this much attention since I walked through an Applebee's with toilet
paper stuck to my shoe.
I picked up a drill bit at the hardware store and the cashier there had the same
request. The hardware store people would like me to visit their Web site and tell
them about my shopping experience.
I was clutching a little piece of metal in a little paper bag. I was in and out of
the store in two minutes and it was not what I would call an experience. Buying
shoes is an experience. Finding the right accessories is an experience. Savoring
good chocolate is an experience; purchasing a drill bit is not.
I picked up a pizza for take-out and the cashier practically pleaded with me to go
to their Web site and tell them about my pizza experience. I'll let you know after I
eat it, I thought. He threw in the possibility of winning two medium pizzas to
sweeten the request.
Never have so many people cared about what I think. All of a sudden, everybody wants
to know my every thought. This must be what the Hollywood elite go through. No
wonder they're cranky.
I stopped in at the post office to buy stamps and discovered the post
office wants my opinion, too. The card store wants my opinion. So does a
big box appliance store and an electronics store. It's a virtual
Did I like the lighting? Was the staff helpful? How was the selection of
merchandise? Was the pepperoni peppy enough? Were the stamps stampy enough? How
often do I come? Was I there for business reasons or personal? Do I have any
suggestions? Do I own my home or rent? Do I use powdered detergent or gel? How
would I describe my shopping experience?
My shopping experiences tend to be alike. I leave the places I shop at
with less money than I had when I came in.
A couple of election cycles ago, the big word was "gravitas." Did a candidate have
gravitas? Gravitas sounds like an infectious disease, but it actually means someone
has a quality of importance that causes others to give serious consideration to what
that person has to say.
With everyone clamoring for my opinion, I think I may have acquired gravitas. Now
question is: How do I get rid of it?