Recommended wine for today’s entry: Valley of the Moon chardonnay. My 21-year-old daughter bought me a bottle for my birthday, and I broke it out this week after this harrowing shopping experience. It was just the ticket – it was a Wine & Spirits Best Buy this year with an 87 rating and got a Gold at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Try some for Thanksgiving.
On Black Friday, you would have a better chance of finding me at the tippy-top of a water tower, eating a grease-dripping turkey leg and dancing to a Prince song than you would have of finding me at the mall. The only thing I hate more than heights, meat, dancing and Prince is a crowded mall.
So what was I thinking this week when I found myself at a large department store’s ONE DAY SALE!?
And of course I was there both days, because what good ONE DAY SALE! isn’t two days long?
I ventured to the mall on Day One with my friend Beth because she hates to shop too and misery loves company who is also miserable. We couldn’t take the chaos of frenzied women shouting out math problems like IF THE ORIGINAL PRICE WAS 100 DOLLARS AND THE SIGN SAYS 65 PERCENT OFF WHAT DOES THAT MAKE IT … OH, AND WAIT! I HAVE AN ADDITIONAL 20 PERCENT OFF COUPON … SO IS THAT 85 PERCENT OFF OR IS IT 20 PERCENT OFF AFTER THE 65 PERCENT HAS BEEN TAKEN OFF … OH, AND WAIT! I HAVE A SUPER SPECIAL $10 OFF A PURCHASE OF $25 OR MORE … WAIT, NOW I REALLY NEED TO KNOW IF THE ADDITIONAL 20 PERCENT …
No wonder people push people down on Black Friday.
We escaped upstairs and bought my husband a birthday present, which was just in the nick of time because his birthday was in a scant 11 hours. But that department was not participating in the ONE DAY SALE! because it is too snobby and it has a lovely hardwood floor to let you know that you have left the disgusting white-trash linoleum floor that the rest of the scuzzy, coupon-bearing animals are thundering through. So it was worth the extra money.
Then we hiked to the far end of the mall to the opposite anchor, which was empty because there was no ONE DAY SALE! and the prices were sky high. But the additional money I paid for a holiday dress was worth it, because my blood pressure stabilized and saved an expensive hospital co-pay. At least that is how I sold it to my husband.
Speaking of husband, when I got home I checked his closet and realized that the sweater I’d gotten him was, of course, the wrong size.
Which is why I was back at the mall, in the rain again, the Second Day, a day that made the First Day, in retrospect, seem like a day at the spa.
I parked a million miles from the door and was darting in and out of cars when I nearly got flattened by, you guessed it, the Mall Cop. I pulled up short and waited for him to pass.
But he stopped next to me, put down his window, pulled down his sunglasses (it was seriously dark enough out that his automatic headlights were on) and looked me up and down. Then he says, “Are you trying to get into the mall?” No, Barney, I’m just a middle-aged woman playing pedestrian chicken with irritated drivers in pouring rain. I nodded and he goes, “Please. Cross in front of me. Please.” I felt dirty. But I wasn’t afraid of him because he could barely see over the steering wheel and I have to think I could outrun his stubby little legs.
I fought through the peons thronging the first floor, made my way to the department with the special floors, exchanged the sweater without incident, and then made my escape to the escalator. But wait! Bras — buy 2, get 2 free whaaat?
Yes, I became one of the ill-mannered mob. I clawed through the merchandise, once even setting a pick on a fast-moving woman so she had to divert around the rack and in the meantime, I established my territory in front of the Vanity Fair display. If I’d been a male dog, I probably would have peed on her.
In the checkout line, the meemaw in front of me held up her tiger-print pajamas and asked me what the tag said. “100 percent polyester,” I read. She stared at me like I’d just told her I eat live kittens and she finally said, “So there’s not much cotton in there, right?” I took a cleansing breath, trying to reconcile in my head how so many stupid people had come to have so much spendable income.
But she was waiting for an answer, so I did: “Uh, no, not much … like ZERO cotton.” Apparently the wrong answer. She got out of line and threw the handsome jammies back into the wildlife section and left.
In the end I had $140 worth the bras for $57 and I was hooked. Screw my blood pressure.
Tights were 2 for $22, so I juggled my two bags, my purse and five pairs of tights and, once again, couldn’t find a cashier. I wormed my way through the store, my phone ringing incessantly in my purse, but me without an open hand to even press “reject.” Now I’m sweating and juggling and ringing and ringing and ringing, and there’s a cashier with NO ONE in line but my eye catches a smashing pink sweater with 65 PERCENT OFF screaming at me, so I divert and grab one, tucking some of the tights under my chin to free a hand.
And when I get back to cashier, there is a scrawny lady with Albert Einstein’s hair gesticulating wildly and bitching about the computer saying there was a pair of size 2 in the store somewhere and WHERE ARE THEY … and second in line is a very nice man, or I think he was very nice because he kept asking me something in a language I have never heard but he was smiling so I think he must have been nice. But he smelled like the men’s locker room after the Anti-anti-perspirant Basketball Tournament.
Now I was sweating, juggling, ringing, ringing, ringing and g-a-g-g-i-n-g (literally). The “manager” even came by and thanked me for my patience and I nodded, dislodging a pair of tights. But after ten more minutes (and I am not kidding, Einstein was still demanding to know the locale of those damn jeans) … I had to breathe. I headed toward the perfume department where I intended to grab one of those sample bottles and use it like nose spray, when I found a little, hidden cashier and I threw my shit on the counter and grabbed my wad of coupons and threw them at her and finally pushed REJECT on my damn phone.
I am sure I got some good deals but I paid for it with my blood pressure.
I can’t help but note that the word BARGAIN is made up of bar and gain. Let’s just say that that night, the alcohol industry benefitted from my day of shopping.