March 22, 2011
The Real Housewives of Park City
When I was in college my nickname was "Yank." I went to school in Texas, and down there, if you’re from anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line, you’re considered a Damn Yankee.
Being from only as far north as Nebraska, I thought this nickname highly illogical, and for some reason I really hated it. So in a not-so-sober moment one spring break I decided to prove I had a little southern belle in me and got a tattoo of a cowboy boot on my ankle. Today, this stands as a permanent reminder of my ability to make spectacularly irrational decisions in the midst of a bothersome predicament.
All I can say is this: At least I’m conscious of this flaw. There are those who are painfully unaware of their knack for overreacting. As was witnessed last Tuesday at the annual Cole Sport Blow Out Sale. Which quickly became the Cole Sport Blow Up Sale when two women got into a catfight over a coat.
At first, the cries of "Give it to me!" and "No, it’s mine!" seemed like a joke. I mean, surely no two self-respecting people would ever get into a public screaming match over a stupid coat, right? Exactly right. Self-respecting people wouldn’t have. But apparently 40% off sales bring out the worst in people.
For several minutes they argued back and forth, calling each other names and engaging in what I can only describe as a contest where both parties assumed that whoever’s shrill shrieks could reach the highest octave would win the coveted coat. Who knew a ski sale could look like a casting call for the Real Housewives of Park City?
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But these two women didn’t just make a reality-TV-worthy scene. Their screaming match and aggressive tug-of-war captivated hundreds of shoppers. Jaws dropped, heads shook, parents ushered their children out of the way. When the argument failed to end after the first 30 seconds, "security" (in the form of an innocent young lady working the sale, estimated age: 17) had to intervene. That’s when it went from entertaining to embarrassing. When a teenage girl who works at a retail ski shop has to plead with two adults to, well, start acting like adults, it’s officially time to get a grip.
Ladies (and I use that term loosely): Do yourselves a favor and turn on CNN. There are far bigger things to worry about than a stupid coat. Your actions came just days after horrific devastation in Japan the effects of which will be felt for decades. Thousands upon thousands of people are dead. Even more are missing. A nuclear meltdown seems all but inevitable. We’re at a war in Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly now Libya. There are starving orphans in Africa. And getting a coat at a ski sale is the cross you’re willing to die on? (Or, at least let your reputation die on.) Really? I hope to God I never see you at a Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving.
Look, I love a good bargain just as much as the next person. But a good deal can peacefully coexist with good manners. If all the shocked and horrified expressions from my fellow shoppers are any indication, I’m pleased to say this is not a foreign concept.
I don’t know how the fight started or who ended up with the coat. But I do know there were two clear losers in this match.
I have a suggestion for these women: Take some of the money you saved at this sale and go get yourself a tattoo. Preferably one on your forehead that says: "Remember what really matters."
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.