Thursday, October 1, 2009

NO sale. No Sale.

One time a long time ago, I was with Bryanmasters (that's just what we always called him) and we went into Zelmans (I think it is, there on Douglas by what used to be Panama Reds.)
It was before a job at Reds and we were just killing time.
We were both talking about how we'd never actually seen anyone shop at that store and admiring the attention to detail that had been paid to the front windows. In 1956. Picked over and thinned out by people we'd never seen buying things we couldn't imagine anybody actually using.
Mrs. Zelman walked up as we were admiring and we asked if we could go in. She looked at us like we had parrots on our heads and said, "Y'nevah buy anything," as she was reaching for her key and unlocking the front door.

Mrs. Zelman is as much a Wichita institution as Century II (or she used to be, I haven't been there much in 10 years or so.) The story I've been told is that she and Mr. Zelman were captives in one of the Nazi camps and she always carried a bar of that soap.
She never drove and always took the bus and walked EVERY where.
For real.
She had to be 83 the night she shadowed us in her store.

She followed us for a good 15 minutes muttering, "Y'nevah gonna buy anything..." Then we'd move on to another item and she'd kinda bark "NO SALE! no sale."
She was relentless. She said "NO sale" like, 36 times in a handful of minutes. This happened for the duration of our visit.

We didn't buy anything simply because we just couldn't justify buying anything (probably.) And we probably had a house full of kids and no money.
Well, that AND she kept saying "NO SALE." I still feel kinda bad about not stimulating her economy.

So, if you're in Wichita and anywhere near downtown AND by some miracle of feistiness Mrs. Zelman is still alive and torturing shoppers - you must go in and buy something.
Then scoot down to the Donut Whole and have a maple-bacon donut or two.
Both of these things will make me feel better.
Go me.

1 comment:

Culpstir said...

I've never been to downtown Wichita, but I've been in this store, now.