Barry and I have been lamenting our lack of image within the Indian trader community. All the other traders seem to have distinctive personalities, and we have none. In The Weavers Way, a text written by Carter and Dodie Allen several years ago, I am included in the section on traders. The problem is that they put me on the page opposite Jed Foutz. Jed comes from a long line of traders, is younger, and much more attractive. That only made matters worse. When I complained to Carter and Dodie shortly after the book’s release, they just laughed. My insecurity accelerated. While Barry and I have mulled over several alternatives, until recently nothing workable presented itself. All that changed when I traveled to Salt Lake City.
When I started back, traffic on the freeway was light as I approached a slight uphill section of the road. That particular stretch made me think of an urban forest. The concrete path sloped gently up and to the left, obscuring any view of the city. No cars were visible, and the tall, thin street lamp posts lining the road looked like abstract versions of lodge pole pines. I began to feel peaceful, as though I was in an isolated part of the world. In its own way, the freeway was every bit as beautiful as the forests we have just north of us on the Abajo Mountains.
As I crested the hill, my mind was flowing in a stream of consciousness, jumping from one thought to the next. As the traffic increased, I watched cars responding to the movements of other vehicles. A large truck blinked and moved quickly to the left, and the entire flow changed. I thought of how that is somewhat similar to the marketing plan we needed at the trading post. If we were able to do something novel, to be nimble, maybe the store atmosphere would alter, resulting in a new direction. Then I saw it, a billboard advertising a modeling program, and guaranteeing results. It started me thinking how Barry and I had searched in vain for the right solution, and it had been right in front of us all the time. He and I needed a fresh look.
A few weeks earlier, one of our customers had mentioned that Abercrombie and Fitch long ago decided all their sales clerks must be young and attractive. When I saw those billboard models, I knew why we weren’t getting results; Barry and I are just too . . . ugly. I am tempted to blame it all on Barry, but realize I probably can’t convince anyone it is exclusively his fault.
In the past, we had been able to overcome the ugly with creative Navajo baskets, rugs, and turquoise jewelry, but as we have aged, that strategy is less and less effective. Before Barry started coming to Bluff, Priscilla and I used the ugly cop, pretty cop routine with good results. People would walk into the store, see me, and immediately gravitate to Priscilla. It was almost as though they were thinking, “Wow, that’s a face only a mother could love. Oh, there’s someone attractive, let’s go talk to her.” Priscilla got lots of sales, and from time to time I got the sympathy sale. Altogether, it worked reasonably well.
Then Barry arrived and we had ugly cop, ugly cop. That hasn’t worked very well. So Barry and I have decided cosmetic surgery and liposuction are needed. Fortunately, we have a friend who is one of the top plastic surgeons in the country. In the near future, Twin Rocks Trading Post will have a new, attractive staff. Priscilla, by the way, is not participating in the scheme.
Let the chicks fall where they may.