[ one ]I’m in dire need of a new pair of jeans. Too many washings — particularly in sulphurous New Zealand washing units — had faded the indigo dye in my one good pair, thus rendering them unremarkable. I’d like a pair of gray jeans, but I found the collective assortment of men’s jeans in the entire Valley Fair mall to be unsatisfactory. Apparently, pants-wearers in San Jose have a different interpretation of the phrase “slim fit” than those in Santa Barbara. Or they just can’t let go of the baggy pants style. Or they’re fat. I don’t know. At one point, I specifically asked a salesgirl if she could recommend anything that wouldn’t hang around my legs a pair of potato sacks. I tried them. When my parents asked what I thought, I responded that “I might as well just puke all over my legs and call that a pair of jeans.
The salesgirl was standing right behind me.
“Oh, yeah. These aren’t working for me.” Somehow, even at that point, feigning politeness would be my best bet.
I didn’t find any jeans.
[ two ]During the second period in which I was lost in the shopping mall, I wandered past a Talbots. This store is known to me as a mom store. My mom shops there. Therefore, Talbots equals mom store. Anyway, the Talbots at Valley Fair has a second Talbots unit across the hallway, which is itself divided into two smaller unites — Talbots-lets, if you will. On one side, the Talbots-let is labeled “Talbots Petite.” On the other, “Talbots Woman.” This distinction, of course, confused me, as Talbots is strictly a women’s store. I asked my mother about it later, when I was no longer lost, and she told me that “woman” in a store name designates plus-sized fashion. Really, the label is silly, though if the store is implying that the larger customers are “more woman,” in a sense — a literal sense.
In any case, I think the situation is made all the more distressing by the fact that the two sides of the Talbots-let have two different doors, as if the larger customers aren’t even allowed to entire through the door marked “petite.”
[ three ]I was granted the opportunity to confuse a customer. For this, I am thankful. I went to look at some sweaters on a rack where an older woman was also browsing. Without looking up, she tells me “I’m only looking.” I process this and respond that I think that’s neat, then continue to browse over her shoulder. She finally looks up and repeats what she said earlier. Then me, a little annoyed: “Lady, I don’t care what you do.” She shoots me a look like I shanked her. Even after looking at me, the guy who wasn’t wearing a headset or name tag or orange vest or anything, she apparently was convinced I worked at Nordstrom. I walked away.