A typical visit to the cosmetics section
Last week I went to get a new powder for my face. I walked into a cosmetics store at Jordan Landing and wandered over to the make up section. I saw a cosmetics lady walking around so I assumed she would walk over to help me.
She walked around in circles looking at stuff.
Finally, I approached her and asked if she could help me pick a powder shade.
She kinda just looked at me and said “Um okay, but what product do you use now?”
I responded that I used Clinique and had for a while but was thinking of trading product lines if I could find a color that fit my skin tone.
She made a face and said, “Well, if you found a product that you liked it’s better to stick with it.”
I was a little confused.
This place didn’t sell Clinique so was she telling me to go to another store?
I told her I wanted to try to find my color anyway. She looked at my skin tone and brought out 2 powders.
I looked at them and I knew they were going to be too dark but I didn’t say anything. I let her put them on my face. They made my skin look like a mud blotch.
She said “Oh this one might be a little dark but this one isn’t so bad!” I looked up at her and smiled.
“Um I don’t like it. Do you have something tan but not so deep.“, I said.
She looked at me and said “Oh, yes I think I might. Let me check.” (Note: I could see all the shades myself.) She kept looking at me then looking back at the powders, she looked flustered. I got up and walked around to where she was. I pointed out the powder that looked like it matched. Four shades lighter than the ones she’d tried. She cleaned my face and we tried the color I picked, it matched. I told her I would take it. She went to grab the package and said, “Oh! This powder is actually a lot more expensive than the other two I tried on you, it’s another brand.”
I got annoyed. I said, “You know what I changed my mind. I’ll just go grab my regular Clinique stuff.”
She said, “Yea, this is all a bit pricey.”
I smiled and thanked her.
I walked away and went to the perfume section. Picked my favorite fragrance, Coco by Chanel. The smallest bottle is $75.00.
The lady was at the front of the store close to me. There was a promotion for fragrance purchases. With purchases over $30.00 you would get a free travel tote. They were really cute. So I asked her to get me the fragrance I wanted because it was locked. She told me “Sure, you know you only have to spend $30.00 to get that tote.” I responded, “You know what can you get me the biggest bottle of that Coco Chanel?” and smiled. She grabbed it. There was no one at the register, so she had to ring me up. I continued to be polite. I smiled and thanked her. She gave me my tote.
The whole time she was processing the transaction I could tell she was flustered. I didn’t really think about it until after.
I am so used to having this issue at makeup counters that I didn’t find it out of the ordinary or out of line until later.
Experiencing the good in people
On my way to a meeting that afternoon, I got a flat tire. My husband was helping me change it but the tire was sealed on for some reason and would not budge off. An older white man and two kids pulled over and asked if he could help. Isaac told him what was going on. The man volunteered to go home and bring some WD-40 spray and a hammer.
Isaac kept trying to get the tire off. He kicked the tire, tried to pry it, etc. The tire would not budge. I asked him about what they guy had said, “He said yeah, but I don’t know if he’ll come back.” 15 minutes passed and we were still there.
A huge black muddy truck on a lift kit U turns and parks behind us. The man who pulled over earlier also U turned at the same time. They both got out of their cars. The older man brought a huge ICEE for the kids and had the tools. The other guy was in his 20’s he was tall and blonde. He had an NRA shirt on. He’d just come back from Afghanistan we learned later.
Image: Flawur Media
Thirty minutes after they finally got that tire off and were able to change it. Their faces were flushed, in different tones but the same redness highlighted the sweat streaming down their foreheads. We said our thank yous and goodbyes and were on our way.
On the drive home I told Isaac about the lady in the store and how grateful I was for the experience with the flat tire.
I still don’t understand why or what happened in each circumstance. My thought process after was of checking myself and my prejudices. I was reminded how easy it is to assume in any instance.
I also noticed how I am used to catering to people who are bothered by the way I look, by the shade of my skin. At the end of the second experience, as I consciously checked my thoughts, my mind flooded with memories of times my color mattered and times that it did not. The fact that I still experience micro-aggressions and have to cater to prejudice and discrimination is hurtful. I, like others, don’t have a choice as to when and where I look or act my color.
I felt renewed hope in people who made the choice to go out of their way and exit their privileges to help a mortal sibling. I felt a light flash in my mind that gave me peace in knowing there are many people who genuinely care for the human race.
Lastly and most importantly, I remembered how grateful I am for the knowledge my father and mother have culturally embedded in my heart.
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. ~my mami
Mija, no te acomplejes. Esa gente no importa, tu eres bonita, inteligente y una hija de Dios, eso mija es lo que importa. ~my papi
When you are nice regardless of another’s actions you are only showing how powerful your character truly is. It might sound superstitious but I know these encounters happened on the same day for a reason.