Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's a Spa World After All


Call me a fuddy-duddy.

(Go ahead. I’ll stay right here while you do. You aren’t the first. You won’t be the last.)

I have noticed that more and more types of services and stores here in southern California that should be fairly utilitarian have developed a disturbing tendency to get unnecessarily dressed up, gussied up and pimped out.

This Kansas girl is concerned, wary and more than just a little weirded out.

Is it really necessary to provide a spa-like atmosphere for all experiences?

Can we all just get a grip, please?

First, it was the renovation of my plain, sensible grocery store.

It was like a nice aunt I went to see once a week. She was nothing fancy, but she was homey and had everything I needed. After the renovation, I entered the store to discover that my aunt had been shipped off and had been replaced by an entire Tuscan village, complete with blue-sky ceilings, faux stone aisles and wrought iron signs declaring “Bistro ” and “European Seafood Buffet.”

(What IS European seafood, anyway?)

When I discovered quail eggs for sale, I nearly cried. I just wanted my simple grocery store back. That’s all. I just wanted to buy a bag of hamburger buns without feeling as though I had to dress up to do so.

I searched around me for someone else who would band with me to stop the madness, but nearly everyone there was lapping up the fancy coffee offered at the marble-countered “Coffee Carte” and had delighted, eerily happily, bordering-on-sedated expressions as they strode around the magical Tuscan Village.


This past week I had to take Evan to an oral surgeon for a consultation for his wisdom teeth removal. We entered the office and I immediately sensed another surreal experience about to come my way.

The waiting room had big cushy couches and chairs. The staff treated us with so much attention and enthusiasm, I was absolutely sure that somewhere in that office was a great big ol’ canister of happy gas that all the employees were encouraged to suck upon.

Seriously, it took a great deal of emotional energy to just keep up with them.

I was offered bottles of juice and water throughout the visit. I was offered magazines; I was engaged in happy small talk. There was sycophant-like behavior and oozing as I was presented a glossy folder outlining my “Financial Responsibility and Obligation.” Evan was made over, praised, and engaged in admiring conversation.

It was the European Seafood Buffet all over again.

I just wanted to know a qualified surgeon who knew what he was doing would yank my child’s wisdom teeth out and be there afterwards if there were complications.

We were left alone in the exam room for a few minutes and Evan turned to me and said, “You hate this, don’t you, Mom?” I nodded. “Don’t you?” I asked him, shuddering. “Nah, it doesn’t bother me,” he said, kicking back in the ultra-cushy exam chair.

After meeting the doctor, who was fresh from a visit to the Happy Gas Canister, we went back out to the waiting room for a few minutes. Once again, I felt very alone as I saw other people in the office lolling around in the warm bathwater atmosphere.

Parents stretched back on the couches, sipping their quickly-supplied juice bottles, watching the movie on the gigantic monitor. They purred each time a staff member came up, called them by name and asked them if they needed anything.

Maybe it’s just a weird thing with me, but I believe your child’s oral surgery is not a time to relax and marinate in attention. I intend to be bolt upright in my chair, wringing my hands and feeling just a little sick throughout the entire procedure.

Evan is leaving for college soon and needs those wisdom teeth out pronto, so we’ll go back to Happy Tooth Land next Tuesday for the surgery.

My plan is to sit on the couch with a large bag by my side. Whenever I am offered a bottle of juice or water, or a fresh magazine, I intend to say yes, receive it with a smile and then plunk it in the bag. I figure within an hour, I’ll enough liquids and reading material to last me for about a year.

What can I say? It could mean fewer trips to the grocery store in the future.

Win-Win.


47 comments:

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

I hear ya! Where's a good IGA when you need one? I took my kids to the dentist last week. Son#2 actually had the audacity to ask if we could arrive an hour early...so he could watch an entire movie on one of the gazillion monitors throughout the office.

Happy Thursday! ☺

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Man, I want some of that happy gas! My wife should visit that place - she'd come home with two bags of juice bottles.

Madi and Mom said...

Oh BB we do so agree 100%.
Apples are apples and oranges are oranges...I don't want to be able to leave my cleaning at a booth in the grocery store..it might come back smelling like the seafood counter.
Hugs C

Old Kitty said...

Having had awful experiences with my dentist as a child, I'm very very happy with the zen buddhist happy clappy surroundings offered by my current dentist along with soothing music. And they give me freebies like those tiny travel size toothpastes that last for like a couple of days! And I can watch repeats of Friends while mr dentist drills away and extracts blood from my gums! LOL!

Take care
x

Eva Gallant said...

What you say is so true! It's annoying that you can't get your groceries without having to wade through dozens of exotic products you have no use for or can't even identify while avoiding the "Would you like to try some of this deep-fried, bbq'd tofu" lady!

Lin said...

All that fluff and nonsense just equals a bigger bill--somebody has to pay for all of that juice and magazines. Ugh.

Colin had his wisdom teeth out last year, and like you, I sat there on the edge of my seat, just waiting to be done with it all. All four teeth were out in 45 minutes!! No time to really panic.

European Buffets here are just another word for Polish, Lithuanian/Baltic type of fare--you know sausages, potatoes, dumplings, etc.

Brian said...

Are you sure you didn't land in Oz?

Laura said...

This was too funny, but all I could think was: how much extra do the charge for all this?
My kids went to an orthodontist that was headed in that direction....

Flartus said...

Would you think less of me if I told you we have that bottle of walnut oil in our pantry?

Marg said...

WE totally agree with you. Where are the nice old simple grocery stores. No wonder no one has any money. They are buying all that fancy dancy stuff. Great post.

Theresa Milstein said...

You'd love my no-frills dentist. We barely fit in the place and the receptionists are always grouchy.

What do you do with a quail egg?

I agree, sometimes places do too much. We can entertain ourselves for a few minutes and we don't want our shopping to be that complicated!

Madi and Mom said...

Hugs and good wishes for M&Z on the annual checkup....Mine is tomorrow at 1:30.
Madi

Donna said...

Lolol...You are SO right! Even here in TX, they can't leave well enough Alone! If it's not broke...
Hope the surgery goes great for Son!!!
hughugs

Leah J. Utas said...

Ah, for the old ways of doing business in a business atmosphere. I miss them, too.

jenny_o said...

I'm thinking the same thing as several others - who will the cost be downloaded onto? I think we all know the answer :)

Snickered to myself over the thought of you stocking up on juice and magazines, though - so funny!

Hope all goes well with the surgery!

Joyful said...

Gussied up and pimped out places usually bring higher prices! I'm with you :-)

Retired English Teacher said...

You make me laugh and bring many smiles to my face again. I hear ya. I agree. I love your plan.

I was once advised to have a lot of expensive dental work done. I was leery. I walked out of the dental office, saw the doc's brand new Jaguar, and never went back. I figured he had some heavy car payments to make. I too just want a competent, engaged, caring dentist, doctor, masseuse, or manicurist. I don't need all the trappings that seem to come with a large price tag attached.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

haha- I bought that very exact sesame oil a couple of weeks ago- can we still be friends?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My doctor and dentist hasn't gone that far but I know what you mean about the grocery store.

Baby Sister said...

I agree whole heartedly. I haven't experienced that at a dentist office yet, but I have at stores and it makes me sad. But hey, at least you'll get free reading material to last you a bit. :)

Sarah said...

I imagine the European seafood tastes a little snobby? But I sure can use some happy gas right about now!

Michelle Fayard said...

Amen! After reading a post as witty and spot on as this, I am delighted to be a new follower.

P.S. I've left a response to your comment on Bird's-eye View at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/getting-blog-comments-to-work-for-you.html.

Erika Lee Sears said...

HAHA love this! I don't know like a fuddy duddy grocery store but love a grocery store you can easily find everything and lots of amazing local buys.

I just had my wisdom teeth out- and my mom loved taking care of me.. she loved the quality time..

Daisy said...

This post made me smile. I've noticed the same trend here. I have wondered to myself if perhaps the bills I pay to these places wouldn't be so high if they weren't trying to create all this lovely atmosphere for me that I don't need or want.

Ms. A said...

You didn't even mention the fact that you have to pay out the wazoo, for all that, with increased prices and rates.

Bryce Daniels said...

What a hilarious post! You nailed it with your assessment of all things glamorous.

Reminds me of a time when, just for grins, I counted the number of brands and varieties of toothpaste at Wal-Mart. There, I said it. Yes, I patronize Wal-Mart.

Thirty-two. Not three, not two. Thirty-two friggin' ways to prevent cavities. Or forest fires. No, wait. That was another aisle.

Thanks for stopping by the Society! Let's stay in touch so I can check up on Oz from time to time.

Jules said...

ROFL, I have so missed your wit and charm. I too long for the store that just carries what I need. "No, I do not like green eggs and ham." :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Linda said...

I love how you put words to experiences we've all had. So true, so funny, so well written.

Mrs.C said...

I'm with you Betty, who needs all this fluff? Just do what we need, and do it right, that's all we ask.

Mamma has spoken said...

You take that big bag with you and fill it up to where it can't hold any more. Don't feel the least bit guilty either, you've paid for it one way or the other.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That kind of good cheer belongs at Disneyland, not the oral surgeon's office. I love your phrase "marinate in attention."
Be well, Betty.
xoRobyn

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I saw a movie like this once. The Stepford Wives.

Marlene said...

I am so with you on this one!!! Go Betty!

Catherine said...

Back in the day you used to be lucky to get a new sample size toothpaste and a new toothbrush when you went to the dentist! Isn't it amazing where all we can find 'one stop shopping' and yes, how come all the food is 'new and improved'? It's all very confusing isn't it?

xo Catherine

Slamdunk said...

Ha, I think you have something there in collecting beverages. It bothers me as well how "pampered" society has become...

Kelley said...

This was so entertaining to read! YOu have made some excellent points. Everything DOES have to be fancy schmancy. I want to know what "european seafood" is, too. Whenever people tack on "French" this or "European" that, I always think that it was probably made in a warehouse over there just like the one down the street in my town.

blueviolet said...

I'm with you. Everything is just too too. It's not necessary, and I can't help but think that we're the ones paying for all that extra fluff.

The Woven Moments said...

I'm in the opposite camp as I think adding "spa" to things makes them not only immediately better, but also worth more money.

Like SPA pedicure should naturally cost $10 more than a regular pedicure, just because of one hot washcloth and a rock dragged up and down my leg.

Right?

Right????

Siv Maria said...

LOL Betty. We do not have that problem over here and I am so glad for that :)

Madi and Mom said...

Hi BB Madi and I were checking in to see how M and Z's vet visit went. I'm heading off to my annual physical soon
Hugs and happy Friday,
Madi

The Green Streak said...

Working so hard to be nice and welcoming is just creepy! Makes me wonder what's behind the Mr./Ms. Nice face.

Ann said...

it's their sneaky plan to make us feel all comfy so that we won't notice when they charge us an arm and a leg for what they're selling.
I want the old mom and pop stores back.

Out on the prairie said...

The next thing might be changing the name a bit to sound more euro.
Ralphonso's

Hilary said...

So true.. and not to mention the increased cost because of it all. You've a way with words.. very entertaining.

Brian (not the cat) said...

What's with that "e" at the end of "carte?" That's what really gets me.

Pat Tillett said...

To me, it's just a ploy to raise prices by "pretending" to offer better products and services.

Sara said...

While I do appreciate some of the gussied-up items grocery stores are now carrying, for the love of God - why can't I find French toast bread anymore?! I feel your pain, Miss Betty, I do.