He didn’t feel comfortable. Not comfortable at all. He had never bought anything from that type of stores before. But it was her birthday. So he sighed deeply end entered.
“Hello Mr. Stone! Or do you prefer Tom?” a bright-eyed, professionally exuberant shopping assistant smiled at him.
Some of his friends though it was spiffy when kids addressed them by their first names so he went along with that but he could never understand the idea of complete strangers’ familiarity, “Mr. Stone is fine.”
“Mr. Stone, I’m Cindy; I will be your Scent Guide today. Are you looking for something new for yourself?”
“I need to buy a gift… A perfume…” he paused trying to collect the thoughts: everything he saw looked a little strange and not the way he remembered or expected.
“Would you like to try the newest flavor from PepsiCo?” she made a slight move towards the stand on her left.
“No-no, I don’t need the newest…” A couple of times when he brought her something a sales assistant persuaded him “everybody is crazy about”, she thanked him with a polite smile but later, as if without connection to anything, she would go on and on: “I don’t understand why they try to re-invent the wheel: my favorite perfume was just perfect – why did they have to discontinue it?!”
“Oh, I see, Mr. Stone,” the girl smiled understandingly. “Here, Blanc Noir is one of the best sellers for the last couple of years. It’s a truly unisex composition and it’s very popular with our customers.”
“Sorry, Cindy, I didn’t explain it right… I’m looking for the special perfume. I need…” he chuckled apologetically. “Of course, now I can’t remember the name… Wait… I have it somewhere… somewhere… Right! Here it is.”
She looked at the name blankly and paused looking at the surface in front of her; then a flicker of recognition appeared in her eyes but was quickly replaced with almost disdain, “Oh, it’s an “old lady” perfume…” she burst out, then stopped herself and tried to recover, “I mean, nobody uses this one any more…”
“My mom is 70, so I think she would qualify,” he smiled for the first time.
“Of course, Mr. Stone. I’m sorry. Just a second, I’ll start your order,” she re-applied the cheerful smile to her lips. “What application form does your mother prefer? Do you want it as a drink, pill, food supplement or a patch?
“I need a perfume…” he felt as if they were speaking different languages.
“You mean, you want it in its historical form, in a bottle?” she tried very hard not to sound surprised.
“Yes, please!” he made an effort not to get annoyed telling himself that it was just a usual arrogance of youth.
“Here’s your order summary. Please check the price and your payment credentials. We scanned your biometric information at the beginning of the session but you know how those systems are sometimes…”
“Everything looks correct.”
“Great! We’re almost done,” her smile was shining exactly the way it was in the beginning of his visit. “Please make sure your 4-D printer is on. When ready, just say “Deliver!” or use OK gesture. I’ll stay online until your order is delivered.”
“Thank you, Cindy. You’ve been helpful.”
“Thank you for shopping with us, Mr. Stone! I hope to see you again soon.”
He fiddled with the bottle for a while: it looked very similar to those he saw on his mother’s dresser when he grew up. He didn’t remember the scent but hoped she would like it as much as the perfume the memory of which she loved.
This fantasy came from my thinking on the topic after reading “old lady perfume” musings of one of the young(er) bloggers (yes, believe it or not, there are some people who consider themselves perfumistas and still use that term!) And though I’m still some years away from qualifying, for some reason it bothered me enough to create that story. It must be age-related.