Tag Archives: shopping

Please Don’t Make Me Shop

15 Feb

A carefully constructed Hell.

Clothes shopping is the worst.

It makes me angsty in all the normal ways, of course.  All the body-related ways.  I spend a lot of time looking at a garment and wondering how I’ll fit all my jiggly into it.  I do a lot of fatty math – things like “if I get a pair of pants that go really high and a blouse that goes really low, how much pressure per inch does it take for my muffin top to disappear into the nether?’

For the record, I’m still running.  That’s right.  I graduated from Couch to 5K and now I run.  Now it’s just something I do.  I don’t want to talk about it too much because I’m afraid I’ll scare it off.  Like the dodo birds.   But it takes a lot of running to undo the terrible wrongs that are hanging on my hips and when I’m encasing them in clothing, it’s really more a matter of trying to find what doesn’t make me look incredibly awful instead of what makes me look incredibly good.   I have special, nonspecific equations that have to do with the original cost of a garment vs. its clearance cost and how large that number has to be for me to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if I look fat in it.

But those are everywoman things.  The tip of the clothes shopping iceberg, if you will.  Even a casual jaunt through Macy’s gives me palpitations.  This past weekend I went to Nordstrom (yes, I had a gift card, and no I don’t make money off this blog) and quadrupled the Macys effect.  All the sales people were super attentive.  I don’t know where the people are in life who enjoy that.  Who goes shopping and hopes that an associate will ask them if they’re finding everything okay? Not me.  Even if I’m looking for something, I’ll wander around pretending to look at things that I don’t pertain to me at all until I can spot what I need in my peripherals. 

I lead a complicated existence.

I worry a lot about the unspoken rules.  Clothing stores don’t all use the same standards so there’s a gamut of things I have to figure out when I go to a new place.  Do I have to ask for a fitting room or are they unlocked? Do I have hunt someone down or will someone be back there waiting?  Is there someone to help me when I need a new color of the mediocre shirt that I’m hoping doesn’t make me look as fat in black, or do I have to get out of my naked suit and go find it myself?  Do they write my name on the back of the door, do they need me to take a number matching the number of garments I have, should I button and zip everything back up when I’m done? And of course the most angst-inducing: do I leave the clothes in the fitting room or do I put them on a rack outside the fitting room? 

Sometimes the rack has things on it that don’t look like fitting room rejects.  And if I’m not invited to do so, or if there’s no rack at all (bewildering), I have absolutely no idea what to do and to avoid being a self-entitled jerkwad of a person, I take my monstrous heap of rejected clothing back out to the sales floor and put each one back to its rightful home.

Most of what I do in life is motivated by self-imposed guilt.

Because I so often have to carry out the latter practice, shopping requires me to be quite sharp minded.  I can’t just wander in there without purpose or I won’t remember where I got clothing from, won’t intuitively catch on to the wardrobe practices, and may risk being scolded by store personnel for a clothing store faux pas.

Nordstrom has an added sense of danger for me.  Things in that store can be so expensive that they send folks who were raised poor like me to the hospital.  I used to go in there when I was young and play “guess how much this costs” with my friends.   Now that it’s not a game and I actually want to buy some of these things (remember the gift card.  And the fact that there are still clearance sales at Nordstrom) I have to be seriously careful about my public reactions to such atrocities.  One blouse I pick up could be $80, on sale for $40.  The next could be $1200.  The real challenge in that situation is to, of course, not pull the blouse downward when your torso wrenches to the floor in disbelief, thereby making the entire rack of clothes topple over.

After an hour and a half of panic-attack-inducing shopping, I finally wandered out of Nordstrom and into the great white light beyond the mall doors.  By the time I made it out, I had tried on about 40 different things and only bought three.  With no reject rack in sight and far too many clothes to wander out of the dressing room with to return to their homelands, I left about 25 in one fitting room and then went to the complete other side of the store to try on anything else I found.  I thought that by leaving half on one side and half of the other, the sales associates would split their contempt for me down the middle.  I was exhausted, and rightfully so: all that salesperson dodging, fitting room hiding, and body fat encasing is quite the chore.

From now on: online shopping.  My fitting room, my rules, and no one asking me if I’m finding everything okay.  Just a couple of cats awkwardly staring at my jiggle and a box with a return slip ready to be shipped. 


What Happened to Black Friday?

23 Nov

Okay, let me be frank here.  What the hell happened to Black Friday?

Oh it’s still there, sure.  But it looks funny this year.  Don’t be fooled: November 25th is not what it seems.

Every year, my brother and I have a Black Friday tradition.  We get the flyers ahead of time and scope out the deals.  My brother is a total nerdy nerd so for him this means assessing the tech needs of the family.  Need a new television? Mike’s got it covered.  Want to watch your favorite movies on Blu-Ray but can’t justify replacing your DVDs? No worries: Mike will heed your concerns in November.  Heck, last year he got three DVD/Blu-Ray players for 20 dollars each just in case the family decided they wanted them.

The year before, we stood like ice statues outside Best Buy at 3am to be one of the first in line for Mike’s most coveted item of Black Fridays past: The Logitech Harmony Remote.  This baby is a fully programmable remote that suits all your entertainment center needs.  You program the step by step process for everything from your old school Nintendo to your shiny new DVD/Blu-Ray player (courtesy of Mike, perhaps?) and when you’re finished, it turns on everything you need for a single task with one beautifully orchestrated ballet of genius.  Simply push the button beside “play a game” and the correct sound system boots up, the TV turns on, and your video game console emits a soft glow that whispers it’s ready.

That’s a beautiful purchase, my friends.

It’s not just about paying only a fraction of the price for life-changing goods.  It’s a hardcore bonding experience.  There’s nothing like forcing yourself into a vertical position and prying your eyelids open with your fingers on a still-digesting stomach full of turkey to reinforce that brother-sister love.

Mike and I are highly evolved species in a capitalistic society.  It’s a test of evolution, do you understand?  We have to stand in line looking like hell frozen over, shaking with coffee that was cold the moment it was put in our hands and yet keep our limbs warm enough to dart through aisles to nab those deals before nimble and ever-persistent soccer moms.  Success means we’re at the top of the food chain.  And we’re always successful.

But this year it’s different.

What a sham.

Some stores are opening at midnight.  That means that there’s no scraping our skins out of bed – we simply have to go to bed late the night before.   There is no early morning coffee and driving home as the sun comes up, laughing at our delirium and celebrating a wagon full of gadgets.  There’s no test of evolution.

Even worse, some folks are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  It isn’t enough to test your ability to get out of bed in the morning or to stay up late at night; now we must test family loyalty.  In order to get the brightest and best catches this holiday season, you’ll need to skip the egg nog around the fire or the sneaking of cold turkey throughout a good game of cards.  You’ll have to end the festivities of one day to embark on the capitalistic traditions of the next.

So thanks, but no thanks, Black Friday.  You’ve been a great, unexpected festivity born of exhaustion and early morning laughter.  But I’m not forking over conversation with family and late night board games for bright flyers and percent-off signs.  You’re in uncharted territory.  You can’t compete.  I wish you nothing but failure this year.  

Next year I want my Black Friday back. 

Deep Inside the Hell Bowels of Sephora

3 Jul

Yesterday, I ventured into the dark, grimy bowels of Sephora to whip my sad and scrappy makeup bag into something socially acceptable.

If you have a penis, you should know that Sephora is an upscale makeup store.  You’re welcome.

I don’t like Sephora.  I try to avoid going there as much as possible.  While the makeup itself is enough to make me orgasm on entry, I simply can’t stand the black suit saleswomen getting up in my grill about whether I’m using a good primer before I put on my foundation. I don’t like their insinuation that I should use the makeup they like to use, and I don’t like the pressure of being talked to. 

Also, all of them sort of look like whore clowns.

Sephora Beauty Store Opening

Exhibit A: Sample Whore Clown. Photo by "br1dotcom". Click to check out their Flickr Photostream, which also features some ridiculously adorable pictures of a French Bulldog.

I’ve been trying to avoid shopping in Sephora for a long time now and as a result have bounced around to several different department store makeup brands trying to find things that stop small children from screaming bloody horror when they see my face and that stay on all day long.

My face has needs.  Real needs.

I would avoid the store entirely and shop online, but I can only do that to refill something I already know I like.  I can’t ever get a new color or a new brand because without the luxury of sampling, there’s no way to know if the super expensive makeup I’m about to buy is actually going to bring me any sort of shallow, material happiness.

Seeing as how I used to work at Victoria’s Secret – the ultimate in black suit pressure saleswomen – you’d think I’d be able to the Sephora challenge.  But I can’t.  I’m just awful at it.  I spend most of my time discreetly moving from one color to another without looking like I’m actually interested in what I’m looking at.  A face that shows interest is a face that shows weakness.   So I casually swipe a bit of a sample onto my finger, mosey over to the mirror, and try to look casual about painting my face.  It’s quick and odd – like when I try to check my armpits for a suspicious odor.  I pretend I’m doing something else altogether, but the trained eye is incredibly aware.  

My casual ruse was almost foiled by my inability to locate the disposal bin for the samples.  I had all the eye shadow sticks, square wipes, and gloss applicators I could possibly hope for but not one single trash can in sight.    Everything blends in there.  It’s all black, white, and bright lights.  People shouldn’t even be allowed to drive for at least 15 minutes after they leave.

So, unable to find a garbage can for all the pieces of used makeup wipes in my hands and with each of my fingers entirely coated in a different makeup color from my ‘casual swiping’ as I moseyed by the products, I resolved to continue to feign disinterest and certainty and promptly shoved all the wipes into my purse.  Heaven forbid I ask where the garbage can is and get asked what kind of airbrush foundation I’m using. 

In case you’re interested, the answer is none – airbrushed makeup is for whore clowns.

I eventually emerged from the innards of the elitist makeup shop with my mental sanity (almost entirely) in tact.  I also somehow acquired twice as many products and I initially entered for.  Which is a bit of a quandary, seeing as how not a single person approached me during my browse.  

I would have felt badly about my terrible display of self-control if I hadn’t gotten a free sample of mascara that blew my mind and a free bottle of super yummy-smelling body wash because it’s my birthday month.  Those little bits of pleasure made the price tag of my purchases not even noticeable until I got home, at which time I wallowed in self-despair.  I tried to make myself feel better by painting my face with my new makeup, but it mixed my tears to produce a sort of awkward-girl-upset-that-she’s-not-prom-queen look.

I’m now one day past my initial buyer’s regret and the feeling is not subsiding.  I should have known better.  I should have stayed away.   But hey – lesson learned.  …Again.  Shop Sephora online or don’t shop it at all.   It looks like I’ll be replacing my makeup with the same exact colors and brands for several years to come.  

I’ll need some time to muster up the strength again. ♣

Today’s RAK: Mailing a thoughtful gift to someone I’ve only just met for an hour.


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