The customers that visit the store I work in have developed a new game they like to play with the employees. It’s called “Is This On Sale?” The game starts by entering the store and noticing the sale signs. They are strategically placed next to the merchandise that is on sale.

What the sign says “All Holiday Items Now 20% off”

If there is any confusion, the sign clearly states that in fact all Holiday items are 20% off, some exclusions apply but here’s the department code in case you’re industrious enough to scour the ticket for that number. In not so many words.

What the customer reads: “ENTIRE STORE 20% OFF!!! GO NUTS!!”

A woman is carrying several items and studying the sign. She see’s me. “Is this on sale?” she asks holding up a blue and white Ikat print pillow.
“No, I’m sorry, it’s only the Holiday items that are on sale” I explain patiently.
“How ‘bout this?” showing me a French soap.
“No, just Holiday items.
“Is this?” reaching for a large coral fan.
“No, that’s not HOLIDAY! Lady! Tell me what’s Christmas-y about a coral fan!?” (I may have said this more in my head than actually out loud.)
And then the final question is always “Oh. How can I tell what’s Holiday?”
“Chances are if you can hang it on a tree, it’s Holiday.” (Again, more in my head)

I really can’t blame them for being so optimistic. Not much ever goes on sale and certainly not enough of anything that can be covered in a blanket statement such as that.

So I’m at the mall today. I’m at a department store, one I used to work in. I’m looking for a specific item and can’t find it or a salesperson. I see something similar to what I want and it’s more than I intend to pay. There is a hangtag on the item stating the price. I see other items with hangtags and they all have sale toppers on them. Except for the item I want. I spy a scanner on the wall, hmmm that’s new. I drag the box over and attempt to scan it with no luck. A salesperson magically appears and shows me the best way to work it then scampers off before I can say anything. I look at the scanner and the regular, full price is being displayed.

It’s pretty obvious and all signs point to no, but I find myself looking for a salesperson with an irresistible urge to ask.

“Is This On Sale?”