This is the season of giving, right? Yeah, well, this year's been the season of taking. Or at least the season of taking advantage of me. Bah-humbug. Since early November, I’ve been taken three times. Correction, three people have tried to take me. Two succeeded, those bitches. But don’t think it’ll happen again.
When I first bought my condo, my mom insisted I enlist her housekeepers to clean it. There was grime and filth the previous owner had ignored and my mother cringed at the mere thought of her daughter living amongst it all. Um, I could care less if my food hits the floor. But that's another dirty girl Paige-ism for another time. Anyway, the fee was $100 and it seemed fair considering the amount of scrubbing involved. They did a great job and I immediately went back to eating M&M's off the floor.
Earlier this summer, I contacted the housekeepers and asked them if they’d be able to clean my condo on a monthly basis. I’m only one person but I’m one lazy person. I can keep my place relatively tidy and I can change my sheets every Sunday. What I can't handle is scrubbing the tub tile and washing the kitchen floor. By August, I was officially on their roster as a monthly client. They were last at my condo to clean or perhaps to simply pour cleaning products down the drain and pick up their check just before Thanksgiving.
“I’m firing the housekeepers,” I announced to my dad as I plopped down in the chair across from his desk. “For $75, I expect my sofa cushions fluffed and the toothpaste cleaned off the shower door. And the fact they don't change my sheets is just ridic.”
“Wait, you pay them $75 to clean a one bedroom condo? What, you’ve got all of 800 square feet?” he replied with curiosity.
“Technically 784 square feet. What’s your point?”
“I pay them $85 to clean our three story, five bedroom, two full, two half bath house. And they change the sheets. Though I'm not sure how they define 'clean' seeing there’s been a dead beetle in the foyer for a month and they come every week.”
“Let me get this straight. You pay $10 more than I do for at least three times the space? Yeah, I’ve been had.”
A few days later, I asked my coworker how much I owed her thirteen year old daughter for helping me out with an office mailer. Every three months, we send a trifold leaflet to three hundred and sixty clients. It reminds them we’re around, if nothing else. I pay whoever does it $10 an hour because I’m too lazy to dig around in petty cash for anything that isn’t divisible by ten.
“Hey, I owe your daughter for helping me out. How many hours did it take?” I asked while rifling through the mail.
“Four,” she replied before turning on the microwave to make some popcorn.
I dipped into petty cash and forked over two crisp twenty dollar bills but I knew something wasn’t right. People, there is no way in hell it took 240 minutes to put together 360 mailers. No envelopes to stuff. No stamps to lick. And the kid isn’t disabled. I’m not wasting my time on the math but I’m guessing my two year old niece who walks like Frankenstein could knock that all out in 90 minutes flat. Yeah, I was taken. Again.
The weekend after the office mailer debacle, I drove my mom and her precious car south to Sarasota. I was tired but not too tired to search for a deal on some Prada sandals. I’d been eyeing them since I was down there in July but the price was just beyond my cut-off for indulgent purchases. So I passed, figuring I’d snag them on sale once the season changed.
With an hour to spare before grabbing my return flight to Philly, my mom drove me over to the shoe store. We parked the car and I skipped through the doorway in search of my beloved footwear. There they were. My Prada sandals. I lifted up the display shoe, gawked at the styling and then flipped it over and baulked at the price noted on the sole.
“Aren’t those great,” the way too skinny and way too blonde salesgirl exclaimed.
“They’re last years,” I replied. "Shouldn't these be on sale?" I asked.
“Oh no, those are this season,” she said while batting her eyelashes and nodding her head up and down.
Here’s the thing. I know the Prada Sport sandal collection inside and out. I couldn't name the eighteenth President or tell you how many cups are in a gallon but I could easily describe the 2003 Prada Sport sandal collection. Yes, they repeat some elements. They’ll maintain the platform heel or they’ll repeat a buckle detail. But no matter what, they change up the shoe just a little bit to ensure a difference between last season and this season. Every fashionista knows that you have to update the product if you want to sell it. No one wants last year's style, especially at this year's price.
I put the two-seasons-ago shoe back on the display and sauntered out to the street in my comfy and chic Target flip-flops. You messed with the wrong princess. I’m not getting taken again. Not this time. No way.