When I was in college I had a part time job working at Walgreens.
It was a place for me to spend a few hours in the evenings and on the weekends to earn a little spending cash so I could go and drink myself silly, naturally.
They didn’t really know what to do with me at the Walgreens in Springfield, Oregon. At first they put me in the fabric department, because I was a girl I guess, and they figured I knew how to sew. Not only did I not know how to sew (not even a button) I didn’t know anything about “bolts” of fabric, what “trim” was, or how to measure a “yard” of anything.
I was not good at math, I was a theatre major.
After many unsuccessful attempts at cutting things, my boss Tim decided to put me where I belong, behind the fragrance counter in the cosmetics section.
Suddenly coming to work was fun. I gladly donned that elephant gray and hot pink polyester smock and headed out to work, especially on days when those big blue boxes of new inventory arrived.
At Walgreens we carried a variety of scents ranging from the Body Imposters Body Spray (“If you like Giorgio – you’ll love PRIMO!”) to our “fancier” scents which were kept under lock and key because they were so valuable. These included old lady favorites such as Wind Song, Lady Stetson and Emeraude. But there was one scent that stood out - it would fly off the shelf as soon as I could get that big blue inventory box opened. I barely had a chance to get it locked up before it was flying out the door.
Exclamation perfume by Coty was so stinkin’ popular at Christmas time we had a waiting list and were giving out rain checks left and right for the stuff. Not only was it stinkin’ popular, it was also just plain stinky.
My boss Tim could not understand why this particular scent was so popular, he said it gave him an awful headache and I have to say, I agreed.
Don’t get me wrong, you know how I love to jump on a bandwagon...I was all over this stuff in the early ‘90’s. But yeesch, you know when you try really hard to like something just because it is cool and everyone else likes it (or was that just me?)
Peach, apricot, amber and sandalwood – four things that should never go together, but they sure do, in a big old black and white bottle of Exclamation. Passing someone with a cloud of Exclamation on is enough to make you pass out cold. It smelled like a super-intense baby powder bomb had gone off.
I would rather wear my grandma’s Charlie or Jean Nate than this stinky stuff.
I remember vividly putting a box together of stuff for Goodwill with an almost full bottle of Exclamation teetering on top. I also remember feeling guilty that some poor person was going to also now be enveloped in a cloud of this stuff.
Ultimately I was fired from Walgreens, or “let go” as I like to say.
I grew bored. I started calling in sick more and more. Mostly I was sick from spending all of my paychecks on Vulcan Mind Probe shots at the bar.
The last straw came for my poor boss Tim when I had my good friend Eric call in for me saying I had backed over my cat and was too upset to come in. He told Eric, “You tell Lori to get her fanny to work.” My fanny did what Tim told it to do. I arrived at work that day in my scratchy polyester smock with my head hung in shame.
I got to work, went behind the counter and doused myself in Exclamation Perfume and strolled by Tim several times that day as he unpacked big blue boxes, causing him to have many angry, wild coughing fits.
He never did ask me how my cat was doing.