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Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Lifestyles: Shopping

The Shopping Experience
Margaret B. Davidson

I remove the envelope from the mailbox, eying with suspicion the bold, black lettering,
Knowing I’ll regret it, I tear open the envelope. I’m a "Preferred Customer," and if I shop Tuesday I’ll get fifteen percent off all purchases. Today is Tuesday. I do not want to shop today. I do not want to shop today, tomorrow, or even next year, but I need new stuff to take on vacation. Luggage is searched these days, and having the world watch as my bag lady garments slither off some slick counter at JFK is a thing to be avoided. And fifteen percent savings! The lure is too strong, so I head for the mall.

It’s hot in the mall. Airless. Ignoring claustrophobia, I march into Bergstroms, purposeful, determined.
Racks of clothing loom, becoming gargantuan as I approach, daring me to attempt penetration of their ranks. Items jostle against one another, dickering for space, some droop from their hangers as though desperate to escape. Ugh! A collage of colors, a muddle of sizes.

I take a deep breath. Okay, blue! I like blue.
Which blue? There are fifty shades of blue. I grab a pair of pants, and head for the blouses. Find one that matches the pants. Ah, here’s one! Nope, wrong size. This one is the right size, but does it match? I’ll try it. Might as well grab several others at the same time. Yellow -- yellow is summery, and I’ve always liked green. Should get mix and match though. Do all these colors go together? I feel dizzy. I’ll be better once in the changing room.

Only five items allowed, says the sign. Five? Why five? Why not six, or eight? Two pants and three tops, or three pants and two tops? There’s no assistant in the vicinity, so I dart furtively into a cubicle with ten items, suspecting they’re secretly watching and will come after me. Darn it! The door doesn’t close properly. With my butt holding the door shut, I attempt to pull on a pair of pants without removing my shoes. A sneaker gets stuck inside the pant leg and I struggle to get it free. Okay, breathe deep. Hurrying doesn’t work. Take shoes off.

These pants fit, and this blouse, but the blouse doesn’t match the pants. With a sinking heart, I realize I can’t avoid dressing and making another foray outside. But what do I do with all this clothing I don’t want? Not enough hooks. Rejected items draped over the chair, spilling onto the floor. Do I leave it all here, or take the stuff out and hang it back on the racks? But I have more items than I should, and if I come out with it all the dressing room police might spot me. Okay, leave the discards. Go into a different changing room next time. They won’t know who left the mess. It’s their job, for God’s sake.

I wander aimlessly around and around chaotic racks of clothing. This is nice, but it’s a ten, and I need a twelve. This is a good color, but it doesn’t match anything I own. I glance at my watch and realize I’ve been roaming for hours. I’m beginning to feel sick, and that man over there has been watching me for ages. I must look suspicious. I’ve got to get out of here.

I head for the exit – through intimate apparel, men’s outer garments – trying to look nonchalant, but knowing I appear guilty. I’m sure the security guard is following me, but I don’t turn to look. Rushing for the safety of the parking lot, I glance to neither right nor left, anxious only to escape the insanity of too many choices, of over-stimulation, of something I can’t put a name to.

Fresh air revives me, and I’m almost recovered by the time I reach the car. Fifteen percent simply isn’t worth it…
Wait a minute. What’s this trapped beneath the wiper blade?
Okay, Margaret, don’t lose it. Do not lose it here in the parking lot!
Once on the open highway I roll down every window and emit one bloodcurdling, banshee shriek.

© Margaret B. Davidson November 2003

Holidays Without The Hassle
Margaret B Davidson

More Lifestyles- More Shopping stories

Budget Shopping Advice
Jenny Brown


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