My brother and I were shooting videos for the Night Owl EP, and we wanted me to appear successful in them. I mean, not like Puff Daddy successful or anything, but not homeless or drug addicted, either.
So, we got this idea that we could go shopping at a fancy boutique in Hollywood. Only then, after the shoot, we would return the outfit for a full refund. It was a perfect plan, like having our own free-clothing shop.
So, that afternoon, we drove to an upscale neighborhood and parked outside of a fancy store. I picked out some clothes that would have set me back almost a thousand dollars, and immediately, I began to regret my decision.
The man working gave me a certain look, as if he already suspected our plan. Out of fear, I put on an act to convince him otherwise. I did my best to seem rich and successful (again, not like Puff Daddy successful or anything-- but wealthy)...
Suddenly, his whole attitude shifted. “Oh good sir, you MUST feel this fabric!"
“Um. No thanks,” I muttered.
“Really, I insist,” he said, pulling me by the hand towards a pair of expensive jeans. “They’re soooooo soft," he moaned.
“Um no. No thanks,” I replied. “I think I’m ready to check out”.
And then, with a tart frown, he shuffled back to the register, and I handed my card over for payment.
“Ronnie... Day... Music,” he recited, “Is that a... Music company?”
“Yes,” I said, ashamed to think that he knew my full name, and would soon associate it with a suspicious return. He flipped the card around in his hand like a stone, scanning its surface for further questions.
“What kind of music do you make?”
“I don't, really” I said out of shyness.
“Is there anything online that I could hear?"
“Hmm, that's too bad” he said, handing me the bag. I issued a quick "thanks" before turning and walking out the door.
My brother, Tony, was waiting for me in the car with a smirk. I told him about how uncomfortable the whole thing felt, and how greasy the salesman was with his red and black goatee. We drove home laughing, and started filming our video that same night.
Several days later, after the video was shot and posted online, I folded the clothes, made sure all of the tags were pinned on, and drove back to the boutique. The same creepy man was working, again.
“Back for more?” he chirped from behind a rack of ugly, expensive shirts.
“No,” I said, “I just have a quick return to make”.
With a sigh, he dropped the pants he was folding into a lumpy pile and walked towards me.
“A return?” he asked.
“Yes, I got some clothes the other day and...”
“I remember you," he said, "Why are you returning them, Ronnie?”
Ut oh, he knows my name...
Suddenly, I felt that this had all been a mistake, and I wanted to leave. He remembered my face and my name. He sounded angry and I wanted to go, but I couldn’t afford to keep the items, so I stayed on and insisted.
“They didn’t feel quite right when I tried them on at home,” I said.
“They're not any good for playing music in?” he asked, sarcastically.
“Um... No. Not that. It's just a weird fit, that’s all.”
“Good, then we’ll get you another size?”
“No thanks, I'd rather just make the return,” I told him, and that’s when his face shifted. He let his arms down in an angry surrender and exhaled loudly.
“I saw the video, Ronnie. On the internet, I watched it all".
I couldn’t respond. My face flushed red and I stood there shocked and ashamed. He continued, “You're all over the Internet, Ronnie, and I saw the video, with the pants, and the shirt and they seemed to fit fine”.
"Well shit," I said... Just that, and nothing else.
I thought he’d make me walk out of the store. I thought he’d deny my return and ban me from ever shopping there again, but he didn’t. He just asked if "Jon on Melrose" could get a mention somewhere on my website. So, that's exactly what I'm doing.