Jeez, Vanessa!

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

The origin story of Jeez, Vanessa!

The names in this story have been changed because I can't afford a lawsuit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 8:21 AM

“We have a story to tell you 😂”

This is the text I received from an employee as I was settling in at my desk and checking my emails on a Wednesday morning.

The Story

My staff members start had a problem customer the prior evening. They tell me that a guy had walked into the store 5 minutes before closing and asked to purchase wig tape. One of the young ladies working that afternoon recognized this man as somebody who had come in once before and was denied service because he did not hold a professional license (more on that in a moment) and proceeded to harass other customers to purchase the tape for him like a goddamn teenager outside a convenience store trying to score some beer.

I'm aware that stores requiring special certifications or licenses aren't all that common and might seem unusual to a lot of people. But, these industries DO exist. We sell chemicals that can be dangerous without proper training. We even have to sign contracts that state we are only permitted to sell products to licensed salon professionals like cosmetologists, nail techs and estheticians. It's a not a matter of trying to ruin somebody's day, it's a matter of fulfilling a legally binding contract.

Back to the story. Since this young staff member recognized this person and remembered his prior shenanigans, she promptly told him that he still cannot purchase anything without a professional license. He responded that he was picking up something for a friend who is a licensed salon professional. They had no such order for his "licensed friend" and explained again that they would not be able to sell to him. Rather than just leaving the store and pulling up his amazon app to purchase his fucking wig tape, he gets his phone out and calls this "licensed friend", Jon Seemik, and passes the phone to one of my staff members. She explains that she looked but cannot find license information for the name Jon Seemik (likely because Jon Seemik's license was as fake as the name I've given him here) and because it was now 10 minutes after closing, he would need to either provide his actual license number or call back in the morning when they would have more time to verify who he was and prepare an order to be picked up. Jon was not happy. The young associate said, again, that this would have to be sorted out in the morning and handed the phone back. Then, the guy in the store snatches the wig tape off the checkout counter, slaps down a couple of bills, and walks out. No approval, no transaction, just took what he wanted.

When they finish their retelling of last nights events, they hand me two $2 bills. These were the bills that the guy had left behind after stealing the wig tape. What the fuck is that about? Is he my grandma and did I just get straight A's on my report card? Seriously, who carries around $2 bills? I noticed stickers on each bill that feature the name and phone number of a real estate investor/contractor. Let's call him Billie Snow. Was this the wig tape bandit?

This was the first time I had heard either story about Billie's visits to my store, but I found myself feeling really annoyed at his audacity and also really pissed off that my staff members had been subjected to his idiocy not once, but twice. I took the $2 bills to my office and placed them on the desk next to me while I worked. I kept glancing at the bills and getting even more annoyed. Could he be that dumb? Is it possible that this bald son of a bitch stole from me and basically left behind his business card? I was about to find out.

The Phone Call

“Jeez, Vanessa!”

I couldn't resist the urge to call Billie Snow and see if he was the person who caused so much trouble the night before. If he was, I wanted to tell him exactly where he can shove the wig tape he stole. If he's not, maybe he knows our mystery man. I dial the number and it starts ringing. Voicemail picks up. Shit! Might as well leave a message and see what happens. So I leave a voicemail explaining that I run a local business and a man came in last night, harassed my employees, took product and left behind bills with this contact information stickered on them. I say that I am trying to determine if he is the person in question or if perhaps he knows the person and could assist me in getting in touch with them.

I go about my work when I get a page from a staff member saying they've got a Billie Snow asking to speak with me. I tell them to transfer the call. I'm giddy. For a moment I considered switching to speaker so my hands would be free for violent gesturing. Finally I get to tell this bastard what I think. The line rings, I pick up and it's just a dial tone. He hung up! My giddiness quelled by disappointment, I hang up the phone and go back to my work. I wasn't ready to let it go, so after 5 or 10 minutes I dial the number again. This time, a man picks up. I ask if he's Billie Snow and he says, "Yes, and you're Vanessa." I ask if he had visited my establishment the night before and he confirmed that he had. I tell him that my employees were really upset about their interaction with him and he was not welcome to set foot inside my store ever again and if he did I would call the police to remove him.

"Jeez, Vanessa!" he replies. You could here it in his voice that he's not accustomed to women standing up to him and despite his declaration of surprise, the patronizing tone in his voice made it obvious he wasn't taking me seriously.

Ladies, it's time to take out the hoops!

Not The Bad Guy

When I tell him that if he ever return to my store I would call the police to remove him from the premises, he says "I'm not the bad guy here". In case you don't already know, when somebody who is clearly a bad guy tries to pass themselves off as a good guy, it's a red flag. At the very least, they're a shitty person but it's likely they're also a raging narcissist. He insists that his licensed friend, Jon Seemik, was the one at fault. "Jon is also banned from my store, license or no license," I tell him. I remind Mr. Snow that this isn't the first time he has been disruptive in my place of business and that he alone had stolen the wig tape. "No, they rang me out and gave me a receipt and everything", he protests. "Bullshit!", I say. He let's out an audible gasp that gives me life and insisted "everybody left with a smile on their face". "Bullshit, again", I say. He abandons his argument and launches into some weird speech about how he "gives out hundreds of those $2 bills every year". As if handing out these bills somehow entitles him to behave badly. I tell him that nothing he is saying is relevant. I guess he realized I was neither charmed or intimidated by his performance because he finally hung up.

I'm sure in his retelling of events, Billie Snow will describe me as a "hysterical woman" or blame my behavior on my menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, women still can't express their anger as freely as men without facing much harsher scrutiny. When a man shows anger or calls out an asshole like Billie Snow, they're "standing up for what's right" or "being a protector". But when a woman reacts in exactly the same way, they're a "bitch" or "out of control". I embraced my anger and instead of being celebrated, I got a "Jeez, Vanessa!".

The phrase "Jeez, Vanessa!" has caused a lot of laughter since my call with Mr. Snow and has become a common response to just about everything I say now especially with my employees. "Hey, will you hand me that stapler?" is met with "Jeez, Vanessa!". "No, sorry, I forgot to do that" is guaranteed to get a "Jeez, Vanessa!". And even though this story happened recently, I feel like people have been saying "Jeez, Vanessa!" to me my entire life. I've always been headstrong which has often put me at odds with others, especially my parents. Always jut a little too stubborn. Always just a little too independent. Always too ready to speak my mind. It hasn't always been a negative. Sometimes they admire my tenacity and independence but they've certainly never had any clue how to "handle" me. Even though Billie Snow was the first to actually say the phrase, the world (or at least my family) has, in one way or another, been saying "Jeez, Vanessa!" to me my whole life. My interaction with Mr. Snow has just highlighted it and helped me decide to embrace it.

So there you have it. The story that inspired the name of this blog. Hope you enjoyed it and decide to keep reading. Or not, I don't really give a fuck. I know, I know - Jeez, Vanessa!

3 views0 comments