By and  on June 10, 1994

ATLANTA

I'm a New Yorker at heart, but living in the South and waking up to the sunshine every day can change a person in lots of different ways.

This time it was fragrance. I've been wearing spicy scents like Chanel's Coco and Paloma Picasso forever, but down here they seem too heavy in the hotter months, so it was fitting that I had the assignment to find something light and summery.

My first stop was Parisian in Phipps Plaza, my favorite store in the South, mostly because it doesn't charge interest on its credit cards.

The crowded Clinique counter was the first thing I saw. It was free-gift week, and I couldn't resist. I made a quick detour and bought myself new makeup base and soap so I could get my present. Even on important missions, I get distracted.

Continuing onward, I saw the fragrance department. The main section consists of a circular counter with a second semi-circular counter around it. There are also a few neighboring fragrance counters.

I noticed that each fragrance displayed had a spray card right next to it and that everything was displayed neatly. There weren't a million fragrances jumbled together to confuse me.

I spotted Liz Claiborne's Vivid on a counter, and as there wasn't a sales associate around, I helped myself.

As I was spraying my card, two ladies looking as if they came straight from church approached the counter. A sales associate materialized out of nowhere and approached them.

"Can I help you ladies?" she asked.

What about me? I wondered silently.

Feeling a bit ignored, I walked on into the circular maze. I was testing Sunflowers when Jody, a sales associate, appeared.

"Are you looking for something special today?" she asked.

"I want something light and summery," I explained.

"I've got something perfect. It's light and it smells wonderful."

She took me over to Escada's Summer in Provence. She explained that it was a special edition, available only in the summer, but that it would be "difficult" -- yet possible -- to get it after the summer.

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