Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stepping Around in the Desert of Joy

Three short stories about shopping on the day after Black Friday. (As a sidenote, you should know that I’ve dubbed the day “Puce Saturday.” Mark your calendars, retroactively.
[ 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.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:24 PM


    I was at Valley Fair on Saturday and I saw you in the Sharper Image and I called your name and tried to get your attention but apparently you were very interested in something other than running into old friends from foreign countries because you either a) did not hear me, or b) chose to ignore me (I'm hoping for the former). You were talking to your dad(?), so I didn't want to be obnoxious and interrupt.

    Anyway, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving :)