Note to Vendors…

Etiquette-It’s not just for Victorian England anymore… After the break…

Note to Vendors…

I hate complaining. I really do. Whenever someone, such as myself, complains, we always have to be mindful to place that complaining into context. Somewhere, in the world, people are being oppressed. They are being beaten and killed “just because”: Just because they are of a different race, a different gender, a different economic group, a different religion, sexuality, they live across the street, speak a different language, you name it. There are places in the world where running water and electricity are a luxury. People dying of diseases that, in other parts of the world, aren’t a problem at all. There are places in the world where landmines, decades old, still litter the landscape and claim hundreds of limbs a year (and countless lives) from people who have nothing to do with the conflicts that placed those landmines there.

So, whenever I complain, I always feel as though that I am complaining about how my steak was prepared or how my golf club isn’t hitting right or that the air conditioning is a bit too cold or not cold enough.

In the grand scheme of things, my complaint is nothing compared to the plight of others. Those other people have every right to complain and complain loudly about being treated unfairly because of one reason or another. In a better world, we don’t build tanks and missiles and bombs anymore but, instead, help those people achieve the better life that we already take for granted. We set aside petty previous differences and focus ourselves on exploring the sciences and encouraging innovation to solve the problems vexing us today.

I am still going to complain, though, about what just occurred to me, in the hopes that it will, to some minor degree, create a better world.

Dear vendors,

The whole point of your existence is to vend. Thus, the name, vendors. To vend. A person who vends. It’s from the French word “vendre” which took it from the Latin word “vendere” which is a combination of two other Latin words (“venum” & “dare”). Thank you, Wiktionary, for the heads up on the history of the word “vend.”

Needless to write, it does not take a Master’s Degree in English Literature to figure out that, by being a vendor, your purpose is to sell things. It’s not as though the definition of the word has changed suddenly because it hasn’t. Take, for instance, the word “boner.” It used to mean “to make a mistake.” Not anymore. I would suggest that you ask your typical fifteen year old what the definition of the word “boner” is but, if you are an adult, you might get into legal trouble if you do so. Therefore, you should not do that. However, let’s all presume that you know what they modern-day definition of “boner” is and, therefore, you know that the prior definition of the word “boner” is most definitely different than the modern-day definition of the word “boner.”

“Boner,” therefore, is an example of a word that has drastically changed meaning over time.

“Vendor” is an example of a word that has not changed it’s meaning over time. Not by a little. Not by a lot.

If you are a vendor, the purpose of you vending is to sell things. That’s the whole point. That’s why you vend. People are not just going to give you money randomly. That’s not how vending works. I do not walk up to random people and give them random amounts of money. Not many people do that. Do you do that? Do you walk up to random people and give them random amounts of money? If you do, then you are unique and special. Enjoy your uniqueness and specialness. However, most people are not unique and/or special because they walk up to random people and give them random amounts of money. They may be unique and special in other ways but not in that particular way.

If you are a vendor, you sell things. You sell things that other people know that you are selling. Do vendors display items that they do not want to sell? Sure, they do. There are tables and fixtures and chairs that are a part of the vending area that are likely not for sale. These are the chairs that the vendors sit in or the tables that merchandise is on or the cabinet that the merchandise is in. It is perfectly normal not to ask for the price of the table that the merchandise is on or the price of the chair that the vendor is sitting in or the price of the vehicle that the vendor drove. Those items are typically not for sale. Everything else, though, is for sale. That’s the whole point: You are a vendor and, therefore, you are displaying items that you want to sell to someone other than yourself. That is why the items are there; To be bought by someone else.

Today, I experienced a vendor who is not fluent with these seemingly basic concepts. A vendor who took a PC game out of my hands (yes, out of my hands. That is not for dramatic effect; He took it out of my hands) and said to me, in effect, “Oh, I was looking for that [PC game]. My son would like that game. Let me see if my son would like that game. [A few moments later]. Yeah, my son wanted it. Sorry.”

I can not think of an obscenity strong enough, at this moment, to label this particular vendor. I know many obscenities, even a few in languages that I do not speak, but I know not of a single obscenity that encapsulates all of the emotions (many of them quite negative & distinct from one another) that this particular moment encompasses.

You are a vendor. It is your job to vend. That is why you drove to a particular spot at a particular time, set up items onto fixtures and pronounced yourself as a vendor. Why did you transport items that are not fixtures, displayed amongst other items that you are vending, if you will not vend them? Did you not know what you were vending? Do you have amnesia and just now emerged from that amnesia to realize that you are, in fact, not a vendor? Do you regularly mix items that you vend with items that you would not vend?

You know what, I’m just going to reveal the actual game that got taken out of my hands, anonymity be darned: It was Age of Mythology, Collector’s Edition. It wasn’t even the actual box (which really, REALLY, REALLY would have irritated me) but just the CD case and the soundtrack. It wasn’t even Age of Mythology, Gold Edition (which is both Age of Mythology plus it’s expansion, Titans). It was just the regular game but in the clear CD case of the game because it came in a very large box with a lot of other junk (trust me when I write that none of that other stuff was nowhere to be found).

So, dear vendors, perhaps you should take a brief moment of your precious time to sort through your items and ask your son what he (or she because, let’s face it, gender identity is a significant deal in this era and I, for one, do not want to be seen as prejudiced against this emerging form of…however it’s classified, whatever -ist it is called) wants and then, when your son is satisfied that there is nothing left for them to take, to then place those items out for vending, knowing full well that there is nothing in your vending area that your son no longer desires to any significant degree.

Somewhere, in the world, someone’s limbs are being blown off by a landmine that’s probably older than I am and most likely older than the person who is now permanently detached from their limbs. I can’t do anything about that. I am sorry that such incidents are occurring. The same holds for a lot of other badness that is occurring in the world at the moment. There is little that I can do for any of those really bad moments. To be fair, I do not eat shark fin soup or believe that the horns of rhinos cure whatever it is that stupid people believe that rhino horns cure (spoiler alert: they don’t cure anything) so, in my own way, I am trying to make the world a better place.

And, for now, I am trying to make the world a better place by giving a small piece of advice to those vendors who may be confused as to what the concept of vending is all about. Display items that you want to vend; Do not display items that you want to give to your son. Simple, right? Right. Good. Now, to some small degree, the world is a better place.

You’re welcome.


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