Lids and the oh-so-fun "YO YO YO G" experience

March/2005: Headwear - I wear hats. You likely already knew this, since I've done every piece of media other than the Montel Williams show with a hat on. I've always worn a hat. Ever since the end of my time in Middle School (Where I couldn't wear a hat but the goddamned principal wore brightly colored converse sneakers!), I've worn a hat each and everyday. Every person should wear a hat. There are so many different styles of hats that you can tell a lot about a person just by looking at what sort of hat they wear. It's a great way to make an instant judgement about someone.

I wear a variety of hats. The backwards baseball cap, the "Russian Immigrant Mobster" hat I own, a floppy hat that was termed "The Greek Fisherman" hat by a former work manager of mine, stocking cap, big ol' top hat, the PeeJ hat (An awesome, awesome hat), an Xavier University hat, etc, etc. I own a lot of hats. They're everywhere around my humble abode. I'd like to pick up a few more hats from both the New York Hat Company (THE company for hats) or simply to buy more hats from the only fucking store I go to in order to buy them, Lids.

Lids is where I always buy my baseball caps. To be specific, the Lids at Lloyd Center here in Portland. I've bought this Boston Red Sox hat there a couple years ago, an all-black version of this Xavier University hat and a Chicago White Sox hat all at that store in the last couple years. I'd probably have bought three more hats there, except for one problem. One simple, yet very annoying problem.

The employees of Lids.

I hate the employees of Lids. I hate them. They are the worst people in the mall. You think the Hot Topic salespeople are bad? You're right, they are. But they can't touch the badness of Lids employees. You see, because anyone who buys a baseball cap must be "hip", the employees of Lids are forced to be these "YOYO YO YO YO U NEEED A HAT G!!! WHAT HAT U GETTIN!" idiots. The worst part? This isn't some normal business that realizes they don't need many "salespeople", as they usually have three in there. Their job? To annoy me. To literally annoy me. Most stores will take "Leave me alone, I'm looking for a hat" as "Leave me alone, I'm looking for a hat." Not the Lids employees. No, that to them is YO YO YO for "Hey, tell me about a bunch of shit I don't want" and "Follow me around, harassing me to buy a hat." They act like they want to be your cool hip weekend friend. "YO, you thinkin' about rockin' that hat right dawg? YO YO YO! That's fly!" The typical conversation when I walk in goes like this... after they've tracked me down in the store, that is.

Xavier: "Yes, this is a hat store. I'm going to buy a hat."
Salesperson: "YO! Sweet! WE gotz this hat rite here playa, that..."
Xavier: "I'm going to buy a hat, I don't need your help."
Salesperson: "Yo yo! This hat would look really fly on u!"

There's nothing I need less than a male looking at my head and thinking "Gee, this guy would look great in this hat." Sure, I know he's full of shit. I know he doesn't mean it. It's still simply too close to gay for my liking. I don't want a male looking me over and thinking "I could make him more attractive if I..." Don't need that. Such happenings don't enrich my life. So, the question then becomes "What to do about it?" No matter how rude you are to these people, they still try to be your friend. I've tried. I've scowled, I've ignored, I've glowered. You can't be rid of these people... unless they're talking to other people. That is what I have realized the last few years of trying to shop at this store.


One of two options work usually really well for me. The first is to do a "walk-by" to see A. how many employees are there and B. how many customers are in the store. If the Employee to Customer ratio isn't 1:1, I just don't go in. Screw it. B. If Phoebus is with me, I send him in as a diversionary tactic and then go in afterwards. A bit of the ol' Statue of Liberty play in football, applied to shopping. He goes in, then I dart in, get a look at the black hats and then quickly try to decide before they realize that Phoebus is a decoy-customer and start bombarding me with suggestions, compliments and other such buffoonry. Sometimes nothing works, sometimes you go in with the ratio being 1:1 AND the decoy and they still break through your defenses and flank you with their cannons of YO YO HAT G? The aspect I can't understand is that Lids is the only place like this. Foot Locker employees aren't like this. Champs Sports aren't like that, Copeland Sports... same. In fact, in Copeland Sports I find it hard to even find an employee that will help you, let alone someone like the Lids people.

Buying a hat shouldn't be akin to a military operation.