Making sense of after-Christmas scents

Published 10:42am Thursday, January 2, 2014

Leftovers and two loads of trash remained, but Christmas 2013 was, for all practical purposes, finis. Done. In the rearview mirror.

Except, that is, for the day-after, semi-annual sale to end all sales on … lotion. And body wash, foot scrub, glitter mist, room spray, and – my youngest daughter’s favorite – 30 varieties of purse-sized hand sanitizers. What a store.

Surveying the crowd from the entrance, our token male looked a bit worried as he sized up the situation. “95 to 5,” he tossed back over his shoulder, guessing at the women-to-men ratio. We continued to push him onward. Meanwhile, the greeter/bouncer had handed me a shopping bag.

“Last one. Take it,” she ordered, then she marched toward an unfortunate loiterer nearby. She advised this young dad that his fussy baby would be happier with the stroller in motion – outside. I didn’t hear his response, though, because I was one with the crowd surging toward foaming soaps.

By the time I reached the mini-lotions, only one scent was left – White Citrus. White Citrus? I know yellow citrus, orange citrus, the occasional lime green citrus, but white citrus? What is that? I quickly figured out that if no one else wanted it, I probably didn’t either, so I followed the pack over to bigger bottles of Enchanted Orchid and Cashmere Glow instead.

A half-hour of scrutinizing shea-infused lounge socks later, I found myself in one of six check-out lanes snaking across the store. A perky lady with paddles reading “line forms here” made sure we exercised correct waiting protocol – appropriate spacing and, above all, no stalling. If you needed to tie your shoe, if you dropped your asthma inhaler, even if you spotted your long-lost Aunt Betty over by the body butter – too bad.

“Have payment in hand,” the lady with the paddles broadcast with a smile, and we underlings all rummaged for our wallets. She joked that her props made her feel like an air traffic controller, but I had a sense that she was reveling in her rank, especially when she barked, “Have those coupons ready, too.”

The staff could not, however, police the in-line-bonding going on. When talk of better sales on the website surfaced, an attorney-type was assigned to do research on her smart phone. When we received reports of a new load of shower gel being dumped in the 75 percent off bins, we sent a runner to check it out.

Then something happened – something big – over in lane two.

Check-out progression paused (briefly) as Paddle Lady curtailed an attempted break and sent the offender, who repeatedly proclaimed ignorance, to the end of the line. Murmurings ensued, but most agreed: She was a breaker, but she was a <cTypeface:Italic>good<cTypeface:Plain> breaker.

Several debits later, my party was back in our vehicle when I noticed the driver’s lap was littered with candy wrappers. He’d obviously immersed himself in a box of Malone’s taffy I’d hoarded since the state fair.

“Thought you weren’t big on sweets?” I prodded my son. He made some comment about this being his one guilty pleasure, then groaned loud enough for those in the third-row seats (the ones nobody wants to sit in) to hear.

“I’m even talking like a woman now,” he said, shaking his head in disgust.

Funny thing is, I think he smelled a little like one, too. Vanilla Bean Noel, I believe. Or maybe Pure Paradise.

Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.