Sample Crazy

People be crazy. I think we've already established that but it bears repeating. A great place to see people's ridiculous behavior is in an elevator, any elevator. And if you take that ridiculous behavior and pair it with a sense of unnecessary urgency well, ridiculosity ensues.

Being the thrifty, savvy shopper that I am, I sometimes shop at sample sales.

Sample sales are basically a chance for manufacturers to make some money on the items they use as samples when developing their line. The samples are usually available in only one or two sizes and manufacturers sell them at a discounted price rather than just chucking them.

Attending sample sales in Manhattan can be a bit of a contact sport because as I've mentioned, people be crazy.

Hundreds of people cram into a tiny room whose original purpose was not shopping. They rifle through stacks and racks, picking up, evaluating, and dropping, looking for that 80 percent off diamond in the rough.

It is especially intense on the first day.

I went to a sample sale a couple of months ago during my lunch break. I realized this might have been a bad idea as I was 1 block out of my office when I caught my pants on some construction scaffolding and tore an industrial size hole in the side of them.

But I continued on, because now I had to buy pants.

The first day of this particular sample sale started at noon. It was in the corporate offices of the brand. I arrived in the lobby of the building and was told to head up to the 12th floor. I walked over to the elevator, pressed the button, and waited.

Almost immediately I was joined by a frantic woman who looked as if she were late for something very important. Like she was the owner of a winning lotto ticket and she had only 2 more minutes to cash it in. Surely she had actual important business to attend to. Surely she was not on her way to the sample sale.

As I stood there, she jabbed the up button. Repeatedly. She would step back to see if either of the elevators had opened up before stepping forward to continue jabbing the button.

She turned to me and with obvious frustration and asked;

Are they working?!

How the heck should I know? I was not, at that time, wearing a monochromatic jumpsuit that had "Rich's Elevator Repair" embroidered across the chest. And based on my button down shirt and ripped chinos, I can't imagine I appeared to be anything other than a corporate stiff with a hole in my pants waiting for a functioning elevator.

But presuming that I am a semi-competent human being, why on earth would I be standing waiting for an elevator that wasn't coming?

Are they working?

No ma'am but I sure am an optimist.

I mean what was I supposed to say to this lunatic? According to her "logic" if I waited for broken elevators I was probably also the type to try and board cancelled flights and make calls on a dead cell phone.

Trying not to be judgemental (seriously I tried) I figured she was probably late for an important doctor appointment that she had hustled across town for. It was a feeling I could relate to so I tried to put myself in her shoes.

Thankfully the elevator arrived and she flew into it as I gingerly followed. I was going to push the button for floor 12 but stopped when she pushed it before me.

Hmph. I guess her appointment is on the same floor as this sample sale. Because honestly, who would get that worked up over poplin casual shirts and merino sweaters. Surely not this woman. Surely she was not going to the sample sale.

When I got in she looked to be about seconds from a breakdown. She was practically shaking. The elevator doors closed and we started moving but stopped on floor 4. The doors open but nobody came on. So instantly she jabbed the door close button and proceeded to hold it until the doors closed all the way.

I halfway thought she might take her thumb off of it once the doors did close, but no, she did not.

She kept her thumb on the door close button for the rest of the trip up to the 12th floor... as though this would really make a difference.

If she had taken the time to turn and look at me she would have realized I was starting at her with my mouth wide open. I couldn't look away. She was ridiculous. A frantic woman completely devoid of logic who was late for what? A child birth?

She kept her thumb on the button as though removing it would cause the doors to fly open and her to be vomited from the elevator out into the bowels of cold black space. Like keeping her finger on this button was keeping her entire life together, and removing her thumb would cause her appendages to explode off her body like some sort of children's action figure.

Crazy Elevator Lady - Now With Exploding Appendages!!!

I started to realize this woman was so ridiculous she might actually be on her way to the sample sale. Surely she was pressed for time and had to hurry in order to take advantage of this super advantageous scenario. But she couldn't really believe that holding that button would take us express up to the 12th floor.

Could she?

What if the doors had opened on another floor and someone had started to walk in, would she have closed the doors on them? Would she have even apologized? Would she have the common decency to at least shout;

"I'm sorry but there's cashmere up there!" as the doors amputated her sentence like a guillotine.

Nothing would stop her. I have no doubt she would have closed the doors on the pope, had he an interest in cold weather accessories and accidentally disembarked on the wrong floor.

We arrived on 12 and sure enough, the sample sale was the only thing there. She flew out of the elevator and into the sale, leaving me in her dust. And I was left with but one thought:

I hope I get to the pants before she does.