Sunday, August 19, 2007

Shopping Trip.

I joined my wife and youngest son for a trip to the mall this afternoon to shop for clothes for us guys. For me this rates somewhere between a painful constant itch and shaving with a cheese grater.

I hate the mall.

We started in H&M since youngest son needed pants for school. H&M is a lot more like S&M to me but with snappier music and less whipping. I really tried to hang in there and shop with him but in minutes I found myself drifting to the exit, walking out of the store and looking for a seat.

Thank God for cell phones since I did not check out with any other away-team members before heading out on my own. I would have been overridden by our away team leader anyway, had I had asked permission. I was AWOL.

I had all the credit cards, so I was pretty sure they would find me.

I found myself in front of Victoria's Secret wondering why $25 sweat pants that say P-I-N-K across the A-S-S in the colors Y-E-L-L-O-W and B-L-A-C-K are doing in the front window. When did Victoria's Secret put sweat pants in the window? Where are the teddys and underwear?

I know what you are thinking, I went to hang out specifically in front of Victoria's Secret for wink-wink nod-nod look at the lingerie.

Really, and this is the truth - I was just looking for a seat. I'm old and the magic of Victoria's secret wore off on me about the time I learned that Victoria's Secret is that she really, really likes chocolate - especially around her period.

Finally I got the call: Bring in the credit cards. I stood in line with three pair of pants that had the knees half worn out and cost $84. A girl whose name should have been "Lauren" as all girls that work in H&M are named, took off all the secret security devices, rang me up and I was done.

I was free of H&M and the Lauren's.

Except that my wife and youngest son were still shopping and youngest son came up with a hoodie that I needed to get back in line for. I love you son and now I shall prove it by getting back into this line manned by 16-year-old-gum-snapping girls named Lauren that couldn't spell H&M if you put a gun to their heads.

Next it was off to Macy's to buy shoes for me for work. My current work shoes are pair of dark chocolate brown low cut Timberlines that have that distinctive wear to them that only two years working in Center City can bring. It was time and they needed to go.

The men's shoe department at Macy's was a zoo. Two salesmen were "servicing" 10 customers at a time. By servicing I mean they were running to the back to look for "this" in a 9 and a half and then throwing the shoes your direction. I was within 5 yards of the counter so I put the bump on a Hispanic man from Pennsauken and caught a pair of Rockports.

By the way, what ever happened to the art of the shoe salesman? It used to be that they would come out and measure your feet with the black thing with the sliding volume controls that your mom would tell you stop playing with because it is not a toy. They would announce that you were a nine and half as if this were news, disappear to the back and come back with a box or two of shoes. Then they would put the new shoe on you, lace it up with graceful, masterful strokes and making a show of it. Next, they would squeeze the front toe to make sure you had enough room and ask you to walk back and forth on one shoe like a moron. What ever happened to those guys?

Unfortunately, I had guessed incorrectly at my own shoe size for my Rockports. For the record, I am not a 9 but I am a 9 and 1/2. I had to get a second, correctly sized pair thrown my way by my "salesman", Dean and then I tried them on. They seemed to fit fine and I did the "I'm trying out new shoes" walk away from my wife and Dean.

I could have sworn she said "walk off the carpet" but this did not make sense to me since in my 40 something years of shoe purchasing I do not ever remember walking off the carpet. You take 5-7 steps, you turn around and you come back. You stay on the carpet. Those are the rules.

This is her area of expertise and I thought she said walk off the carpet.

So I did.

The next thing I know, I was getting the evil eye from Dean and an earful from my wife about how walking off the carpet scuffs the shoe. But you told me to walk off the carpet didn't you?

Apparently she said DON'T walk off the carpet, which is different.

On the way out we saw shirts on sale and by we I mean "my wife". Next thing you know we had an arm load of shirts and I was trying on pants like a 10 year old. I wanted to crawl under a rack and start kicking my legs and screaming that "I WANT TO GO HOME" but it seemed somehow inappropriate.

Finally we had our fill of pants and shirts and it was check out time.

The salesperson rang everything up and then asked if I had a Macy's charge. I said I don't think so since I have no idea what charge cards we do have other that the three I carry. I was thinking "won't these work" as I was handing over a fistful of cards like a tourist in Tijuana handing over Pesos. I know we have lots of them but I really had no idea if one them is a Macy's card. She asked if I wanted to open one and said it would be "100 dollars off".

I gotta tell you the truth right here. I would rather paid an extra $100 to get out of there NOW but I got hoodwinked into opening a Macy's charge right there by nasty looks from the Sales lady, her gay "helper" and my wife. A three were in agreement, $100 off is a good deal. The process was less painful then I thought it would be but was alarmed when I was presented a bill for the full $300 something dollars. I was told it would be discounted on the first bill and my wife said "yeah, we'll get the 20% off when the bill comes in".

What? What happened to the $100 off? In what universe is 100 20% of 300? Where am I, the twilight zone? So my $100 off is really more like $64 dollars in the time-space continuum that I live in.

Then I was told that that I would get this 20% off everything I bought today and tomorrow.

Great! I just had bought $150 dollars worth of shoes so I get 20% off that right?

Wrong.

You have to go back to the circus of a shoe department, return the shoes and repurchase them with the new card. I WANT TO GO HOME NOW. TAKE ME HOME NOW OR I'LL START SCREAMING.

She is dragging me over to the shoe department. I look down at the paper work for the charge card I just signed up for. I actually get 15% off today and tomorrow.

My $100 off is now down to $47.

I tell her there is no way I am standing back in that line for 15% off. I don't know why. I was cranky. I was tired. I WANTED TO GO HOME. It would have been either $20 or $300 off, I wasn't sure how much it would be off but it didn't make a difference since I WANTED TO GO HOME NOW.

Finally, she gave in and let me go home.

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