5.31.2007

This Does NOT Compute

In search of coffee, I wandered into the office break room to see if any swill was brewing. My company offers many perks, but a decent cup of joe isn’t one of them. And on this most unfortunate morning when I couldn’t sneak off to the unofficial satellite office, Starbucks, my caffeine addiction got the best of me. Like a junkie, I succumbed to the dregs of the communal coffee pot to get my fix. It may not have been as bad as a shared needle, but was one bad hit nonetheless.

“How do people drink this stuff?” I moaned out loud, hoping the food service representative would hear my cries.

It was in this frame of mind that I gazed upon the bulletin board and spotted a flyer advertising a "Young Professional Summer Series" hosted by the Work/Life department. Interested in a free lunchtime seminar that also fed my mind, I peered a little closer to get the details and, instead, received a jolt, which made my caffeine hit seem more like a small pat on the patuttie. I’ve never felt so put out in all my life.

“Are you in your 20s or 30s and dealing with the following questions?” it read.
I slipped on my new spectacles and carefully read the opening statement again.

“Are you in your 20s or 30s...?”

With those six little words, it became apparent this seminar wasn’t for a woman of my age. The folks at Work/Life didn’t consider me a “young professional” any longer. After treading along a 23-year career path, I should not have been surprised by this revelation, but I was. After all, I still felt like a young professional.

And I thought I looked like a young one, too-- until I walked into the cosmetic section of a nearby department store during the lunch hour of that very same day. While the young professionals gathered over at Work/Life, I had decided to treat myself to a new lipstick. There, I browsed the cosmetic counters and noticed Lancôme was offering a free skin care analysis, which would compare my skin to 100 average 40-year old women.

“Would you like to have a skin analysis done?” the perky cosmetician asked.

“Why not?” I needed the boost, and this comparison would be a slam dunk in my favor.

It’s not that I had taken particularly good care of my skin. I washed with good old soap and water, almost never wore sun block, or even dabbed moisturizer. Still, everyone told me I look great for my age-- everyone human, that is.

Much like IBM’s Deep Blue of the chess world, Lancôme’s SK-II became my ultimate nemesis in a woman versus machine sort of way. With its specialized camera and computer technology, a cross-section of my cheek was photographed and transferred onto the computer system. Then the sample was analyzed in terms of texture, wrinkles, pores and pigmentation. The machine also calculated my “skin age,” so I’d have an indication of how well I was aging.

I was mortified with the results. According to SK-II (now known to me only as “that bitch”), with the exception of texture and pores, my skin was on or below par with the average 40-year old woman. In other words, this computer had labeled me the Backward Pawn of skin care. And in an almost devastating maneuver, it even offered a preview into the future of my skin--allowing me to see what my complexion would look like with and without the necessary care taken.

“Check mate,” I imagined SK-II say, or perhaps still feeling the effects of the morning swill.

Rather than feel defeated, however, I grew indignant. It might be true that my skin was not as supple as the average young professional. But, it was equally true that SK-II was facing a Queen who would not go down without a fight. I’d run the gambit of skin care and supplements, or whatever it took, to rank above a group of 100 average 40-year old women.

So in a final move, I had the cosmetician work up an aggressive skin are regimen to combat the effects of aging. A cleansing mouse, eye makeup remover, toner, microderm resurfacing abrasion, deep collagen anti-wrinkle serum, specially formulated eye cream, two moisturizers, daytime UV protection, and night cream—my face might have been sagging, but my wallet sure felt lifted. Could the "SK" in the SK-II have really stood for SUCKERED?

9 comments:

kenju said...

Oh, heck yeah! It stands for suckered, all right! If they told you your skin was like the side of a baby's botom, you wouldn't need to buy any products, would you? LOL

P.S. I fixed the photo, and there's a whole post above it explaining what happened.

David said...

I agree, if they would have said "ohh, you have the skin of an 18 year old" what would you have bought? The whole idea is to sell and make the cash.

mrsmogul said...

Use FOLGERS coffee on the skin! My husband yesterday told me I was a rake and had smoothe skin so it's working!

utenzi said...

That damn mechanical bitch. I can't believe "she" said that to you, Diane. You should have spent your money in a more diplomatic store! And I'm quite sure you have no problem passing for 30 anyway!

AmyD said...

Hahaa! I LOVE this post! That bitch definitely took advantage of you; you're gorgeous, but I guess no machine would be able to tell you that. Eff 'em, I say! Oh, but enjoy your new products! I say you use them for a month, go back to face the SK-II, and if your skin hasn't significantly improved, tell them you would like to return it all... ;o)

Suvii said...

Yah.. I think you were suckered indeed. The machine is programmed to tell anyone their skin is too old looking... you had me dying over here laughing though! You are hlarious... but enjoy the products. In a month you should go back and take the test again with the bitch and if the results aren't younger, make them give you your money back!

running42k said...

Put me firmly in the you got suckered crowd. The machine was trying to get you to buy products.

You're still great though.

egan said...

The bad office coffee has tricked me a time or two, but there's no way I could drink it multiple times a day.

mollymcmo said...

they may have sucked you in.
i agree if they have said you have the skin of a 20yr old (which i'm sure you do!) why buy any product?
that bitch needs to be smashed to pieces!

m