April 2, 2019

Dying for Face Wash

Desperate for inspiration to prevent a Hen shutdown, I once again turned to the polls to ask readers what they wanted to read. As we've seen, the democratic process has mixed results (Brexit, Trump, American Idol), but I'm confident in my readers! Here goes another comeback, and if you're not cackling, you only have yourselves to blame.


Life as a 30-something has led me on a journey for the proper face wash. Instead of worrying about the next big party, I'm worrying about my skin's appearance. My dermatologist put me on a specific face wash that's just specific enough to be annoying. Any variations I've tried with the same active ingredient have a weird consistency, weird side affects, or both. After a few too many trials that left my face burning or discolored, I've accepted that CVS is the only place I can find the face wash I need.

(Dozing off yet? Stay with me.)

A few weeks ago, my local CVS was out of my face wash. A week later, still out. Third visit, still no dice. Instead of asking an employee like an adult, I got more irritated with each visit, and made more of a scene leaving each time. Instead of accepting that my harsh face wash might be discontinued (it does stain clothing permanently), I recently visited a different CVS for one last attempt to stock up for the apocalypse.

The ridiculously heavy entrance door should have been my omen to just leave and cry about my face. Instead, I put my whole body weight into the door and stumbled into the store. I flapped 2 laps around this bizarro world store, unable to find face wash and already missing the 90 year old running my regular CVS. Finally, I found a limited selection of face washes, surrounded by creams and makeup. I started at the weird, puny selection for 5 to 15 minutes before an employee reluctantly asked if i needed help.


"Where do you have all of your regular brands of face wash, like Neutrogena and everything?" I nervously asked. (Why was I nervous?)

"Face wash is right here," she grumbled, pointing to a lone, dusty Neutrogena bottle. I thanked her and she was convinced I was an idiot.

But that couldn't be it for a face wash selection in a pharmacy! I flapped 2 more laps around the store, pretending I was shopping for other items until I found another shelf of face wash in a different aisle. I clucked to myself about the unhelpful CVS employee while she restocked shelves in my shadow. I squatted in the aisle to rest my feathers and scope out my options.

As I sat on the pharmacy floor surrounded by face wash, I overheard a customer and another CVS employee talking in the aisle.

CVS employee: "I'm just dying over here. It's fine. I'm just dying."
Customer: "Whatever you do, you want to make sure you're on the right side of heaven's gates when you get up there."
CVS employee: "Oh my God. Did you hear that? Did you just hear that, sir?"

It took me a moment to process as I sifted through face wash, but the employee was actually asking me. She hovered over me, waiting for me to respond. The employee was also a young woman no older than me, which also confused me.

"I did." I said, not ready for this interaction. The employee kept walking with the customer.

"I'm just dying here, and this is what I'm dealing with," the employee announced through the store. "I'm fine, just dying here," she said to another employee who was stocking a shelf.

Once I made my final face wash decisions, I took my wing full of products to the cash register to be greeted by my fear of the moment: the vocal and possibly dying employee.

CVS employee: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: "Doing well. ... (bracing) How are you?"
CVS employee: "Oh , you know, just dying."
Me: "Well, I guess technically we all are." 

Neither of us were quite ready for my reply, and we finished our transaction. I told her to take care of herself as I left, trying with all my might to avoid anything too insincere or trite. 

I left the store still not knowing if the young woman was truly dying soon, being sarcastic, being dramatic, or an odd mix of the three. I wished the best for this young woman. I also hoped to never again step into that CVS or wash my face.

where's self checkout?

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