Well, I went to the mall today with my wife, and we encountered the much-dreaded ‘mall gypsies.’ I’m not sure if they are officially termed ‘mall gypsies,’ but that’s what I call them. You know who these people are: they don’t actually have a store in the mall…they have a kiosk in the middle of the walking areas at the mall and they usually sell something utterly useless like fingernail exfoliators made from Dead Sea salt cubes or hand lotion made from the udder lining of a virgin Palestinian yak.
Now, because these ‘mall gypsies’ don’t actually have a store, coupled with the fact that they aren’t actually selling anything that a normal shopper wants, they tend to drum up their business by randomly and spontaneously materializing, Star Trek-like, directly in front of shoppers as they walk through the mall. You’ve probably stumbled over one of these gypsies at one point or another. These gypsies know that if they can make eye contact with you their chances of being able to waste your time are enhanced by approximately 42 percent.
After making eye contact, the ‘mall gypsies’ somehow pull you to their little kiosk, which is laden down with random blue and white products that smell like antiseptic. Special note: The gypsies actually live in this kiosk at night. Anyway, immediately after you get to the kiosk, another gypsy will generally materialize out of one of your shopping bags and begin rubbing some ointment on your hands while furrowing her brow, profusely frowning and mentioning something about your hands looking like the severed hooves of a dead mountain goat.
The Gypsy will tell you how the ointment that is being rubbed into your hands was refined from dead sea salts, camel spit and the dried bones of garden gnome. The gypsy will use use her powers to try and convince you that your hands feel and look better than they ever have in your entire life. The gypsy will even pick some scabby looking items up off of the table and tell you that these are the calluses that have fallen from your hands as a result of the Dead Sea scrub. Finally, the gypsy will announce that you can have the lotion, along with a special bottle of fingernail undercoat to prevent rust stains and a genuine coprolite power bracelet, for the low price of $72.
The gypsy then takes over your mind and causes you to want to buy two sets of this lotion: one for you and one for a friend. Then, approximately fifteen seconds after you leave the kiosk, when your senses return, you realize that you’re a guy and you don’t need a hand exfoliator. By this time, however, the gypsies have already hitched their kiosk to a team of mules and moved to another mall. This is true because if you return to the kiosk, though it may look the same, there will be different gypsies standing there. You have no choice but to bring your lotion to a white elephant gift exchange and hope that you’ll get some good trade-in value. True story: I got a package of one of these products at a white elephant gift exchange.
So, anyway, as I started out trying say at the beginning of this post, the ‘mall gypsies’ were out in full force today at the mall, spontaneously appearing in different places and slathering people’s hands with products that have not been tested for effectiveness by the Surgeon General. In order to avoid any trouble – you never want to mess with a ‘mall gypsy’ – my wife and I have learned to always look away and never make eye contact. It doesn’t make for the most joyous shopping experience, but it’s the safest experience.