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The Nordstrom Charlatans

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Honey, I know exactly what they are going do. They will start off by telling you how beautiful you are. Next, they will apply all sorts of creams, potions and lotions on your face and convince you that you must buy them. Eventually we will walk away spending over a hundred dollars on stuff that you really didn't need.


Truth be told, this is merely the image I had in my mind of what happens when women, or in this case, my ten year old daughter asks for advice from the folks working in the cosmetics department at Nordstroms. I have never been the one in the chair nor I have I hung around while my wife got advice or help in the Nordstroms Cosmetic Department. I simply never had the stomach to witness these "cosmetic charlatans" work their sorcery.

But this time I had to.

It was my baby girl (10 years old, but always my baby girl) and I wasn't about to leave her with them. So I hung around to make sure that she didn't fall prey to any of their tricks. Plus, I know she is going through a difficult time right now and that this was important to her.

You see, she has recently begun getting acne. And she hates it. Who doesn't? It is especially difficult when you are 10 and most of your friends are acne-free. For the record, I told her I was writing this piece and that I wouldn't share anything about her acne. I would work around it. She unequivocally told me no! That maybe other girls would read this and it would help them. This is the same girl who not that long ago wrote the piece "I'm Infuriated" for #KidsDeserveIt. She is amazing! And she is my daughter!

Back to the make-up debacle that I had braced myself for. I let her approach the counter and ask the questions. I was the protective dad waiting to pounce at the first sign of chicanery.

But I never had to.

The two women at the counter took a look at what my daughter was currently using to treat her acne. They spoke to her as if she were an adult. Explaining why certain products may work better than others and what she could do to help her face-washing routine and get rid of her acne. They were wonderful!

They didn't try to sell her anything and they didn't try to flatter her in an attempt to lower her guard. In fact, they spent several minutes gathering free samples that she could take home and try. To see if they worked. To see if she liked them.

Let me say that again. We walked away from the make-up counter at Nordstroms with a bag of products and we didn't spend one dime!

Wow! I felt like an ass! And I should have. I prejudged these women without any real knowledge. I made sure I pointed out to my daughter everything that had just taken place. Hopefully she can learn from her father's mistakes. I am sure I will make many more and I must keep sharing them with her.

Oh, by the way, I lied about the women telling my daughter how beautiful she was. They did. As we we were walking away they made it a point to tell her that she was beautiful and that no amount of acne could change that. My daughter smiled as only she can and I once again realized that I have much to learn.


I make mistakes quite often. If you would like to hear some them along with those made by some amazing educators I have had the privilege of interviewing just clink the link below.

My Bad




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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

  • Guest
    Monise Saturday, 24 September 2016

    Hey! My youngest started experiencing acne at a young age too! Try Cetaphil cleanser, Biore Toner (they have good cleansers too), a little tea tree oil, and vitamin E which heals the skin overnight. Also, make sure she drinks lots of water and remind her that she is beautiful!

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Guest Saturday, 23 February 2019