What’s the nicest way to tell an employee of an apparel store that you’d rather just browse than be helped (i.e., hustled)? I used to just smile and say “I’m good” but lately I’ve been half-heartedly raising my hand in a friendly kind of “stop” or “no offense but not now” gesture.

About an hour ago I was a teeny bit snippy with a girl in a shop on Robertson. She said the usual “Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?” and I said “Well, yeah, but it’s kinda between me and me for the time being…no offense.”

A few weeks ago I was tired or something but I was also a bit of an asshole when this question was asked. “Actually, I don’t really know what I want,” I said with a vague smile. “I guess I’m kinda hoping that a salesperson will come along and make suggestions and nudge me into buying this or that. I mean, I can’t seem to focus on my own and I have a little coin to throw around so…uhm, could you help me decide?”

I said this with enough sincerity that the woman wasn’t sure how to respond.

My pet peeve is the hurt farewell. After doing my best to ignore the sales staff I’ll head out the front door, and just before I’m out of earshot one of the sales girls will chirp out “Bye!” in a way that means “well, you certainly weren’t very communicative and you definitely didn’t buy anything and that kind of hurts our feelings, but we can roll with that!” When they try this I always turn around and look at them in a way that says “you’ll survive.”