Shhh… I’m Huntin’ Wabbit

I must admit that I am a creature of habit, and once I fall into a routine, it becomes really easy to tune out my surroundings. Some mornings I find myself in line at Starbucks, yet I have no recollection of walking off the train, through the station, down a few blocks, and through the revolving doors. And, as if by magic, I already have my $3.00 in hand, ready to exchange it for a bit of liquid happiness each morning.
But occasionally, something so unusual and out of place occurs that I am jolted back into the present, and forced to acknowledge what is around me. Last week, I had that exact type of experience at the train station. Every day, I walk past a chocolate shop in the station, and don’t really pay it much mind, considering the fact that I rarely think about buying dark chocolate truffles while I’m rushing off to work. I’m sure they do decent business around Valentine’s Day, as forgetful spouses rush to grab sweets for their sweeties before jumping on the 6:25 to Buffalo Grove. But for the remainder of the year, I’m guessing it’s a bit of a ghost town at Ye Old Chocolate Shoppe.
So as Easter approaches, it appears that the store managers have pulled out all the stops, because last week, my eye was drawn over to their display case. There it was – standing tall and proud amidst the toffees and vanilla crèmes: a three foot tall chocolate rabbit holding a chocolate basket filled with chocolate eggs and chocolate flowers. And taped to the outside of his cellophane body suit was a crudely scribbled sign that said: “I am 70 pounds of solid chocolate! Take me home for only $300!”
Normally, as a jaded marketing professional, I don’t fall for these types of advertising tricks. But there was something about the way they underlined the word “only” that made me feel like I might be missing out on the deal of the century if I kept walking. You mean to tell me that this entire 70 pound rabbit could really be mine? And all for the low, low price of only $300?
I wanted that rabbit.
I wanted it so badly, I couldn’t even think straight. I wanted it more than I had ever wanted any religious holiday themed chocolate animal in my life. I wondered what it would feel like to hold 70 pounds of chocolate in my arms, hugging the bunny tight to my chest as I nibbled on its ears.
As a child, this was the stuff of dreams – a larger than life SOLID chocolate rabbit. Not one of those disappointing waxy hollowed out bunny shells, that really barely amounted to the equivalent of one Hershey’s bar. No, this was solid chocolate. Seventy pounds. Inconceivable.
There was a time, not long ago, when I would have thrown down my Visa card without hesitation, slung that rabbit over my shoulder, and lumbered off with seventy pounds of joy and severe lower back pain. But fortunately, that was the old Jenny. That was the impulsive Jenny who would just quit her job without another job, move to a new city, and fall in love at the drop of a hat. Now that I’ve turned 34, I’m much more fiscally and emotionally responsible. I realize that I can’t just give in to whatever random urge strikes me at the moment, because success in life requires far more planning than that.
So I developed a plan.
I decided to play it cool initially, because – and my bankers will vouch for me here – I don’t have $300 to spend on a chocolate rabbit. I mean, sure I could make some sacrifices, pinch a few pennies here and there, carry a bit more credit card debt, but that’s something 33 year old Jenny would have done. And that woman is dead to me now.
No, I knew that acquiring my dream bunny would require me to be far more strategic. Since my previous job was in sales, I decided to dust off some of my old training manuals, and brush up on the old selling skills.
Fortunately, in addition to showing me the most efficient method to break an employee’s spirit through micromanagement, that job also gave me keen insight into the art of negotiation. If I learned anything in that job, it’s that successful selling requires a lot of acronyms. You need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound), always remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Simon), and be sure to take a trip to the S.P.A. before any negotiation (Skill, Preparation, Attitude).
So last Friday, I walked up to the sales woman at the chocolate counter, who was busy picking the salt off her giant pretzel. After a minute or so, her highly developed customer service skills kicked in as she saw me eagerly standing by the bunny, so she shuffled over to see what I wanted.
“Can I help you?”
I smiled sincerely as I read her name plate, and said, “I certainly hope that you can… Alice. I see that you are selling this rabbit here for $300. That seems a bit steep for a piece of candy, don’t you think?”
“A piece of candy? Ma’am, this is 70 pounds of the finest chocolate we make here at-“
“Okay, Alice. You seem like a smart woman. I know that this rabbit isn’t made from your finest chocolate. I’ve done a little asking around, and I know for a fact that it’s made from a hodge podge of all sorts of miscellaneous chocolate pieces that didn’t turn out quite right. I’ll bet there’s even some white chocolate melted in there somewhere. You do know that white chocolate isn’t real chocolate, don’t you?”
“What? Why I… who’ve you been talking to?”
Who isn’t important right now. The only thing that matters is what. And here’s what I’m proposing: See – I’ve got myself a pretty mean sweet tooth. I get cravings. Bad cravings. And when I get them, my palate is not all that discriminating. So here’s my offer: I give you $60 for the rabbit, but you keep it here for me where I can break off a hunk or two when I need it.”
“That’s absurd! $60 for 70 pounds of high grade chocolate? The price is $300, plus tax.”
“Okay, I see you’re sticking with the finest chocolate routine. Let me explain something to you – your chocolate store is in a train station. And not a train station in Geneva, Switzerland. You’re in downtown Chicago, honey. These people you see walking by all day long? They’re not customers – they’re commuters. Business people. Do you really think one of these people rushing frantically to catch the 5:45 is going to stop, whip out $300, and somehow manage to carry home a 70 pound chocolate bunny on a crowded train? Now which one of us is being absurd?”
“Ma’am, every year we sell our giant Easter bunny, in fact, some years we sell several.”
“Look – save the role playing script for your District Manager. You and I both know that this 70 pound monstrosity is going to sit under your hot lights until it starts to get that white chalky rash on it, at which point you will melt it down and try, unsuccessfully, to turn it into chocolate turtles. Am I close?”
Alice looked around and saw that her co-worker was busy arranging and re-arranging the same twelve boxes of chocolate covered cherries. She then stepped a bit closer to me and said, “I’m listening.”
“This is what we call a win-win, here. I give you $60 for the rabbit, you shove it into that supply closet back there, and tell all your co-workers that whenever Jenny stops by, she can take as much of the rabbit as she wants. An ear on Monday, maybe a tail on Tuesday. You get this stupid rabbit off your counter, thereby making room for your high-volume impulse products like the pre-bagged chocolate covered peanuts, and I get to sate my sweet tooth anytime I feel like it. See, everyone is happy.”
“You know, those peanuts are actually quite profitable…”
“Look, Alice. I can see that you’ve got a good head for business, so I’m going to give you some time to mull this over. But just be aware, my offer expires on Good Friday, and I’ve already gotten a couple call backs from the Buddy Squirrel on Wacker. I’ll be in touch.”
By this time next week, I anticipate that my childhood dream of eating half my weight in chocolate will be well underway. I love the new Jenny.

5 Responses to “Shhh… I’m Huntin’ Wabbit”

  1. heidi Says:

    Good work. I’m takin’ you with me next time I go a-bargaining. We could be fierce.
    I helped my friend buy a new Honda Accord and I went from sweet, flirty Heidi to first-class-take-no-shit-from-nobody-especially-you-skeevy-salesman bitch. It was fun. But easy to do since it wasn’t my car and I didn’t care if they liked me or not. I can only do that if I have no emotional investment.
    A solid chocolate bunny of any size is an emotional investment.

  2. Robert Says:

    Save me an ear, will you? That ought to be good enough to push me into a diabetic coma.

  3. hooizz Says:

    shucks! ive had my eye on that bunny for weeks. ever since lent started ive been redirecting all of the funds that i normally dedicate to my traditional hedonism to the “fat as’ a choco bunny fund”.
    i like to think that im putting the as’ back in fat.
    damn you jenny… damn you! *fist shakin* ha!

  4. Jenny Says:

    H: Ooh… I’ll remember that the next time I’m in the market for a new car. I need to bring a bad ass with me!

    R: I can’t risk putting you into a coma – I’ll have to get you a carob bunny.

    H: If you want a piece of the action, leave $30 in an unmarked envelope by the Jamba Juice. Await further instructions.

  5. Debbie Says:

    I’m pissed that you implied that there is a Buddy Squirrel on Wacker – you’re such a tease! How can you play with my emotions like that? Sadly it seems the closest Buddy Squirrel is in the next state.