March 3, 2009 – 10:59 am
Annie Mae looked at the array of mechanostriders in front of her, sputtering bilious, oily smoke and keeping up quite a clamor. In her head, she heard the voice of Ol’ Jamie, the man whose farm she’d grown up on, talking about his draft horses, and she sighed, shaking her head, her long brunette ponytail brushing the falling snow off her back.
“Thanks, Milli, but no thanks – Don’t think these fellows are for me.”
“But mechanostriders are the latest in gnome mechanoriding technology! These have updated lamp eyes, duro-plated armor, and a new Gnomish World Tracking System that allows you to never get lost!” Milli Featherwhistle was nothing if not devoted to her job.
“Yeah, but they’s dumb as bricks and noisier than a freight train. And they stink. Sorry, Milli.” And Annie walked off towards Ironforge again, whistling cheerfully, as Milli’s protests rang out against the falling snow.
Annie set her jaw, hands on her hips as she looked pointedly up at the horseman. “M’name’s Annie Mae Spursparkle, I want a job, and ya’ll need hands.”
Randall Hunter laughed. “You’re too short, you’re not strong enough to handle ‘em, and we can’t afford you getting hurt.”
“Ya’ll ain’t gettin’ it. I want a job. Don’t care if I’m shovelin’ horse shit, I can muck out a stall with the best of ‘em. Ya’ll hire stable boys, right? Well, I’m better than any stable boy, an’ I ain’t gonna go beddin’ down the milkmaid in the haystacks neither.”
He looked slightly taken aback. “Right, and I s’pose you want a horse too.”
“Don’t be daft, y’idjit. I ain’t big enough t’ ride one of them warhorses you sell to th’ poncy Stormwind nobility wantin’ to show off how fancy they’s clothes is when they ride out to kill wolves. I want a damn job, an’ we’ll cross any other bridges when we get there.”
Katie Hunter watched her husband with amusement. He wasn’t often overpowered by anyone, and to watch him flustered by a sunburned, green eyed gnome girl was… She stifled another giggle, and made a mental note to get to know the girl later that evening once she’d gotten settled in.
A few weeks later and Annie had made herself nearly indispensable around the stables. Granted, you never knew she was in a stall but for the incessant whistling of old country farm tunes, but she could certainly keep up with the best of the other hands, and she had an odd ability to keep the horses calm around her while she worked. The farrier liked her, Katie loved her, and even Randall had to admit she was worth every penny they (under)paid her. He’d started teaching her to jog some of the yearlings and two year olds, and she’d proved more than capable of handling them.
He offered to teach her how to ride one morning, and she laughed at him.
“What, you can’t tell me you do all this work and don’t want to learn to ride?”
“Randy, I’ve been ridin’ since I was big enough to not fall out of a saddle. Grew up in Westfall, on Ol’ Jamie Woodward’s farm – my Da makes those harvester mechanical doodads. Can’t jus’ walk out there an’ buy one now though, filthy stinking Defias, and ya’ll would’ve laughed me off this farm if I’d tried to tell you that when I showed up.”
He peered at her. “Show me.” He singled out a little Painted mare, the only surviving horse from a set of twins, who at just under 14 hands was too small for anything else but a noble’s child.
She winked, and went off whistling, setting a young man’s blankets and saddle carefully on the horse, all the while hopping on and off an old crate to be able to reach. When she was finished, she walked the horse back over to him.
“You need a leg up?”
“You sure?” Randall raised an eyebrow.
“Yup.” She flung the reins up over the horse’s neck, grabbed the side of the saddle strap, and in two deft movements was standing on the back of the horse.
He blinked. “You weren’t kidding.”
“Nope. What’s her name?” Annie settled into the saddle, walking the horse around the small jogging arena.
“She don’t have one yet. She’s not good for breeding – too small – so we’re going to sell her off to some nobleman who wants his son or daughter to ride.”
“No, you ain’t. Ya’ll are selling her to me.”
Spring hit Eastvale full force around the beginning of March every year, snapdragons and marigolds littering the gardens, and early spring radishes and lettuces tempting the horses to raid anyone who was dumb enough not to have a high fence around the garden.
“NUTCASE! You daft piece of idiot horseflesh, don’t eat that! C’mon, we’ve got places to go, an’ the road ain’t gettin’ any shorter.”
Katie Hunter laughed as she passed up two baskets of food to the little woman on top of the little horse. “You know, for callin’ that lass Nutmeg, you sure hardly ever use her name.”
“Nah – she don’t mind, do ya Meggy?” Annie patted the horses neck, and she snorted.
“Don’t get hurt, now Annie, y’hear? And if you’re ever here in Elwynn, stop by, alright?”
“Yes’m, you know I will. And thanks again, for everything.” Annie waved at Randall, who was putting a young horse through his paces for a visiting adventurer. He waved back, and she turned and started off at a quick walk down the forest road.
March 2, 2009 – 3:30 pm
Recently, Teuthida posted in the TRI forums a tongue in cheek post about being a woman gamer in her local game store:
Are you a male employee at a game store? Do you find women who walk into your store scary? Are you simply revolted by the games they play, such as Unreal Tournament, World of Warcraft, and Evil Genius? Fear not! Here’s a list of ways you can deal with them to ensure they never enter your store again!
1.) Loudly assume that any game they buy is either a.) for their boyfriend (if they’re 20 or younger), b.) for their husband/son (if they’re old), or c.) for their brother (if they’re ugly and/or fat).
1a.) For bonus points, don’t say this to the girl in question; say it to another male employee. Examples: “Hey, another girl got roped into World of Warcraft by her boyfriend!” “Looks like somebody’s brother is having a birthday!”
2.) Wave off any concerns she has about store security. If she notices that her copy of World of Warcraft is open, just tell her that they’re ALL open, and not to worry about it.
3.) If they show knowledge of security issues such as copy protection or CD-keys, change the subject to the girliness of their handbags or jackets! Example: “We keep the CD-keys in the back room so you won’t just put the box in your little paisley purse and walk out with it.” This way, you accuse the girl of being a thief AND alert her to the fact that you’ve noticed her extremely feminine femaleness, which does NOT belong in your store!
4.) Regardless of who chose the game and who paid for the game, if there’s a man standing near her, attempt to hand the game to him once she pays for it. Bonus points if this man turns out to be a total stranger!
Congratulations! You’re well on your way to making your store a place where you can happily obstruct the “girl games” part of your store (containing such wussy games as “World of Warcraft”, “Age of Empires III”, and “Portal”) while you sit in the corner and eat pizza, and where girls will never bother you again!
We all had a good laugh, and several people (male and female) stood up for her decision to unabashedly never buy anything from this particular game store again.
Normally, I’d not give something like this a second thought, but recently Gamestop has released an instructional training video for their employees on how to talk to woman customers.
GameStop staffers were subjected to “Understanding And Selling To Our Expanded Audience” in advance of the “Sharpen The Mind, Shape The Body” campaign—which has since expired—the sales effort that would give buyers of Wii Fit or My Fitness Coach a free subscription to Cosmo or Good Housekeeping.
I actually sat through the video. It was… enlightening.
What did I learn from this?
- Games are for men! Women are a new “expanded audience”.
- All women are well dressed, carry purses, and don’t wear ratty t-shirts. (Looks at self, just having returned from workout. Uh. Right.)
- Games make women scared, and Game Stores affect them so much that they can’t understand normal speech, so you must affect a pretentious and condescending false friendliness in order to make them comfortable, and not rely on jargon such as “game” when introducing yourself.
- Obviously women buying video games will buy more if they get a “woman’s magazine” – especially if they are concerned about their (shh… weight or body type… shh – don’t say that out loud).
- Women who come into the store to buy one thing (hunters) can easily be turned into compulsive shoppers, spending more than they originally wanted (gatherers) and tricked into buying extra stuff, just by being friendly and trying to introduce them to “other things”.
Of course women aren’t interested in games because they’re fun or well made. They just want to read “ladies magazines” and play wii-fit to get all skinny for swimsuit season.
Nevermind that this plays into huge cultural stereotypes about female intelligence – they’re saying this target audience is women aged 25 to 54. I know some people in their 50′s that play WoW. Guess what? Their demographic is just as varied in likes, dislikes, abilities, skill, and devotion as any other group of people.
I’m a 25 year old woman who regularly goes into game stores dressed however I feel like dressing or happen to have been dressed that day (some days? jeans and a ratty t-shirt. others? professional businesswear). Why does my outfit make any difference?
For that matter, why does my GENDER make any difference?
Why should anyone hawk to me a promotion about buying a game like Wii-Fit or My Fitness Coach if I’m there to buy a second Warcraft box, or an advance copy of another game, a gift card, a poster, or possibly to pre-order Diablo III when that happens. What business is it for the seller of video games to pitch a promotion for a game console that I don’t own, just because I happen not to posses a Y chromosome?
Honestly? I can’t see any.
If I’m there wanting to buy Wii games… I’ll buy them – and I’m perfectly capable of reading promotional posters (I happen to find this particular promotion condescending, stereotypical, and awful, but if it’s a poster, I’m free to read it and ignore it). I don’t go into a game store for fitness advice – nor do I go into a game store to be a special cupcake and get offers on “ladies magazines” that I don’t read.
I go into a game store to buy games.
Just like every other person that plays games in this world – Male, Female, Young, Old, Human, or Martian. It’s 2009. Young women my age and older grew up around games, we know what they are, what we like, what we don’t. Not all of us want to play Mittens the Kitten’s Amazing Adventure, or Wii-Fit, or The Sims, or Unreal Tournament, or Counterstrike, or LotRO, or World of Warcraft, or whatever other games are out there.
Lose the BS approach, and treat customers like customers. Because you’ve lost one today.
March 2, 2009 – 10:24 am
- Today is, in fact, my birthday. Woo! (I am 25, for those that care – I don’t really though)
- This weekend saw some really awesome things – both in and out of game!
- Aely FINALLY got her Lightforge Pants, and turned them to Soulforge – meaning I am totally done with the Tier .5 pieces that I want. She looks pretty awesome.
- Annie Mae got her horse – also FINALLY – at level 35 (I probably should’ve just gone and done quests in Theramore, instead of going back and doing Bloodmyst, but the extra other rep was also nice).
- Our house finally cleared inspections, so we’re hopefully going to close this week – keep your fingers crossed! If everything goes according to plan, I might have to ask for some guest posts!
Aely in her sexy new dress armors – I’ve been putting this set together since she was in her 40′s. The only thing I don’t like are the huge shoulder spikeys that stick up into her face – I kinda wish I could just melt them down to be less intrusive!
And Annie Mae and her new pony, Nutmeg. Meg for short. Nutcase when she misbehaves. I’m working on a little short piece about her actually picking out Meg in Eastvale – we’ll see if it materializes!
February 27, 2009 – 8:23 am
Every Friday here at Too Many Annas, you’ll find a little RP prompting – either in the form of 5 questions to answer about your character or in the form of a ficlet prompt (500 words) to write about them. These aren’t meant to be hard, just things to think about for your character – you can answer in a comment or use them as a blog post of your own!
This week is (as I’m sure you guessed from the title), a ficlet style Friday – only instead of a sentence prompt, I’m going to give you five words/ideas to use in your 500 word story. The idea is to use all of them in some way – but there’s no rules on how to use them or whether they’re important. Your five words for this prompt are:
Fog. Book. Bread. Horse. Sailor.
Let your imagination run wild! I can’t wait to see some of the characters I’ve gotten to read about in these stories!