My “Pretty Woman” Moment

by Erika Torres

I’m sure everyone has had that moment where you come up with a really great comeback several minutes, or even hours, after a person has dissed you.

It’s like you replay the moment over and over again in your head, coming up with several comebacks that you wish you would have said in that moment in time when they had just embarrassed you. pretty woman 1

I call it the Pretty Woman moment.

It’s from that scene in the movie where Julie Roberts returns to the store and confronts the two women who refused to wait on her the day before because she was dressed like a hooker.

She shows them with her shopping bags that they made a huge mistake by not waiting her and emphasizes that they work on commission.

The scene is so great because everyone has at one point or another experienced a moment just like that where someone puts you down and makes you feel bad and you wish so badly that you could have stood up for yourself with some smart comeback.


Last week, I attended a work luncheon and sat at the same table as a PR rep from a certain nonprofit. When I heard her title, I knew that it was the job I had applied for more than two years ago. It was the job that I KNEW 100% I was going to get because I was so well-qualified for it, and because it was my DREAM job.

As I sat there, realizing that this woman held the job that I had so coveted just two years prior, her boss–the one who had interviewed me–came and sat down at our table too. She didn’t recognize me, and I avoided making eye contact.

But throughout the whole lunch I waited for my Pretty Woman moment.

I came up with quips that I could say like, “Thanks for not hiring me, I now make about $25,000 more than I would have had you given me the job, and I probably make more than you too” or “Yeah I now work at a company with lots of growing potential and did I mention that they’re paying for me to get my master’s?” or “I’m so glad you didn’t hire me because my job now is so much better than yours.”

No matter what quip I came up with in my head, I knew they were all mean-spirited and unprofessional.

It sucks to be turned down and denied. This boss lady obviously though I didn’t have what it takes to work in that position and that made me mad because I knew I did. In every sense of the phrase, her loss was my gain.

Had I been accepted for that job, I would have had to take a paycut, and I know raises don’t come easily at nonprofits. And not just for the money reasons, but as the woman who did get my job was discussing her job–mailers, stuffing envelopes, etc–I realized how grateful I was to not have to do that kind of work on a daily basis.

I left the luncheon without saying anything. In my head, I had my Pretty Woman moment, and that was enough for me.

  Have you ever had a Pretty Woman moment where you get to say something to someone who put you down?


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On “Pretty Woman” Moments & Retail Judgment. | Mylifeinverse: The Writing Revolution April 4, 2014 - 10:04 am

[…] It’s easy to try to “win” in the moment or shortly thereafter, it can even be incredibly satisfying, but it doesn’t solve everything. […]

cantaloupe March 2, 2013 - 4:37 am

Maybe you were overqualified for the job. I know it seems like a fake excuse, but it’s possible? Especially since you clearly did so much better than the job, so it is, in a way below you. Really, it shouldn’t make you mad anymore. Their loss was your huge gain.

I got fired from a job once because of this insane supervisor I had. And I often contemplate situations where we might run into each other and I would have the upper hand somehow. (Most likely socially. I would guess that he has like two friends.) But I already know he’s a miserable man, so it would probably just make me sad rather than triumphant. Revenge is rarely an enjoyable dish, cold or hot.

Link love (Powered by shopping woes and dropped phones) | NZ Muse March 1, 2013 - 3:06 pm

[…] Newlyweds on a Budget enjoys a Pretty Woman moment […]

Holly@ClubThrifty February 27, 2013 - 4:22 am

Yes. Yes. Yes. I’ve had moments before when people got what they deserved.

Canadianbudgetbinder February 26, 2013 - 6:08 pm

You wouldn’t have gained anything from it except for self satisfaction, if that because you may not have felt so good about yourself for doing it. Sometimes we say things in our head that we want to do but it’s better left unsaid. There’s nothing worse than professionals who can’t keep it in.. be stronger and rise to the top. Word spreads and you never know who will be interviewing you next. Same goes for any profession, if you have nothing nice to say don’t say it all. People, especially in this day and age of social media see and read everything and that can make or break a career or business. No one wants to be around someone who can’t handle themselves professionally. Forget about those negatives and forward think. You are doing so much better and whatever her reasons were for not hiring you so be it. Sometimes we will never understand but walk away with your head held high, smile (they hate that) and take on the world!! I think in the pretty woman movie you see how she changes, how everything about her changes but for the good. Smart is always sexier! That’s just a man’s perspective but what do I know lol.

Nurse Frugal February 26, 2013 - 5:53 pm

I have had opportunities to say mean comebacks….especially to patients, coworkers and doctors at the hospital. I just figure that it’s not worth it: they don’t pay my bills, therefore I don’t let it get to me. I just thank God that I don’t need to be mean like them.

Budget & the Beach February 26, 2013 - 6:57 am

I totally know what you are talking about! I think there is a fine line (a very fine line) between sticking up for yourself, and being a doormat. In this case there was no reason to “stick up for yourself” by coming up with a one liner that would bite them, so you did the right thing by taking the high road and just “thinking” those things. Sometimes that’s enough. In the case of Julie Roberts, I think I would have done the same thing. It would be a delicious moment.

Jessica @ Budget For Health February 26, 2013 - 6:50 am

I had a very similar story with a job I applied for with non-profit. I met the dietitian who got the position when I volunteered at this organization with my church. I talked to her and asked her what she did in her position and it turned out she works a lot of weekends due to events and fundraisers. I value my time and don’t want to spend it working when Dave is off work. I’m thankful I didn’t get the position and ended up where I am now!

The Happy Homeowner February 26, 2013 - 5:57 am

I’ve definitely had these moments! I usually try to keep them inside rather than voicing my opinions though–it’s always the better approach; well done!

Kathleen, FrugalPortland February 26, 2013 - 5:47 am

Yes indeed. It’s so satisfying in your head, isn’t it? You definitely know to keep it there, though, and that’s great. 🙂

Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 25, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Oh, I was so tempted recently. But it was on Facebook and it was definitely not something I wanted enshrined in my name on the internet forever.
In this case, it worked out for the best for you – so no need to rub her nose in it when you’ve got so much more fun and interesting things to be doing. =)

Sonya February 25, 2013 - 2:22 pm

Part of me would love to have one of those with my former boss. I’m sure I’m FAR happier today than she ever will be.

CeCe @Frugalista Married February 25, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Glad you had that moment even it was just in your head. It’s sort of like redemption. If it were me I probably couldn’t resist sneaking in some work banter that might indicate that I was actually doing better then if I’d had that job but making it sound super nice and just run of the mill polite conversation. I’m so passive aggressive!

Mo' Money Mo' Houses February 25, 2013 - 12:10 pm

I’ve had a few of those moments, but ya I think it’s usually best to take the high road and not say anything if you can.

Deidre February 25, 2013 - 11:35 am

I’ve said things in my head, but never out loud. For the most part I think you’re right it is mean spirited. I mean, people make decisions based on the factors they see – in pretty woman it’s because she was dressed like a hooker and they thought she’d scare clientele – wrong sure! But still.

The most recent one I would’ve LOVED to go to town on is I was made redundant at my job after they had told me that they would extend my contract. It was horrible. And I have many a choice words I’d like to say the work place. But of course, I haven’t.

Michelle's Finance Journal February 25, 2013 - 10:26 am

It is a sad reality that people treat other people just for their looks and what they’re wearing. I experienced it before and although it would feel so good to lash out at them, I’m a chicken, so I don’t say anything and just leave and not come back. And even if I wasn’t, I would probably regret it afterwards even if they deserved it. So good for you for taking the high road. You know you’re doing great and you’re a better person for keeping a professional manner.

SavvyFinancialLatina February 25, 2013 - 10:22 am

I have definitely had those moments. It’s best to be the bigger woman and walk away. Just leave with the satisfaction you are better than them!

Meghan February 25, 2013 - 9:38 am

When I go shopping I purposely wear clothes that suggest I’m at a lower income level than I actually am. Not only am I comfortable, I’d rather not shop at stores where they don’t treat everyone with courtesy and respect. If I get the evil eye or no one will help me with sincere courtesy, I just walk out and never go back.


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