Tales From... The Archive

Shop Till You Drop

I have recently purchased a pair of green Nike high top trainers, the kind a teenage boy would have worn back in 1986, or currently an under weight bloke sporting a pencil moustache in skinny jeans and a pork pie hat, or me: a woman in her mid thirties suffering some kind of mid life crisis.

I can’t even blame the shameful purchase on shopping alone because my girlfriend was with me. She’s the buffer that stops me buying a series of different coloured v-neck jumpers and yet she encouraged me to get them. Apparently I’m not trendy enough and I have to stop dressing like a middle aged Mum on her way to pick up the kids form school. I’ll have you know that that is my ‘going out look’ and has always worked for me… Ok its never worked for me, what’s your point? Besides, I figured out that being cool also means you’re a bit of a gullible twat. Have you ever shopped in All Saints? Am I the only person that refuses to buy a pair of jeans that looks like someone has been painting and decorating in them? What’s with the paint on the jeans? My girlfriend has tried to explain this look to me, “Jen, you don’t get it, the clothes are distressed.” So would I be if I spent £100 on a pair of jeans with paint on them. “Jen, you don’t just shop somewhere because of the clothes it’s about the whole experience and All Saints have a fantastic shop fit.” I’m sorry what? “The design of all their shops is very stylish” It might be really stylish but as far as I’m aware I can’t wear the shop fit. Who the hell talks about this sort of stuff? “Love your jeans” “You think these look good? You should have seen the shop fit.” “Did it have an urban feel which juxtaposed chrome and low lighting with silver cow hide rug?” “Yeah”  “Amazing” “I’d love to chat but I have to go and decorate my house…”

Then of course there are the shops that are so expensive you don’t know what they’re selling. Do not under any circumstance enter a store that looks like this, they are set up as a trap to humiliate people with no money. People like you and me…ok maybe not you but definitely me.  As soon as I walked into this shop I knew I’d made a mistake. There was just an emaciated woman sitting behind a counter listening to German Electronica and a 6 foot glass jar filled with lemons in the middle of the room. “Can I help you?” The woman can tell immediately that I’m not a real customer, she’s looking at me with a disdain so acute my breathing is embarrassing me.  “No, just browsing” I’m not browsing because the shop is empty; I’m desperately trying to figure out what the hell this woman is selling. “Nice lemons…” “They’re not for sale.” “No of course not, who’d buy lemons in a shop that sells…” She doesn’t say anything… I’m panicking, how can looking round a shop be this stressful? Finally I notice a rack of clothes. “Ah you sell clothes! Great…” I pick up a white shirt from a rack of exclusively white clothing; it’s £130 and wouldn’t have fit me when I was 10. “We only do one size” Really cause it looks to me like you only do one shirt. I place it against me, I’ve seen women do this in shops and I feel confident with this gesture until I realise that the shirt only covers one third of my upper body. I put it back, I can feel the woman’s eyes boring a hole into the back of my head. I know that she knows that I’m biding my time till I can legitimately walk out of the shop without looking like a complete loser. But what she knows and I haven’t quite acknowledged is that the status of loser has already been firmly fixed as my title. I spin round in what I think is a confident manner and address her.” I don’t suppose you have that shirt in yellow do you? “No” “Shame|” I stride out of the shop with my head held high only to trip on the pavement directly outside the shop. She either hasn’t noticed or she is so malnourished she hasn’t the strength to lift up her head. I pick up my pace as I head back towards normality, now where the hell is Primark?

Posted on 19th May 2010


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