Went to the mega mall in the Hammer the other day and just about went postal. Here we were, three full days after Christmas and the parking lot was like NASCAR on steroids. People were jockeying for parking places, cruising around as if lost and displaying road rage at the drop of a hat or package! I asked myself, “How can these people have any money left to spend after Christmas?”
I ended up parking in no – man’s land somewhere in the parking lot boonies. The mall looked really small from that distance. I was kind of glad I dropped my son and his friend off at the mall entrance. They would have bitched about the trek which now confronted me!
Walking from the car to the mall was like dodging stampeding bulls, as cars bore down on you from every direction. I swear they were determined to kill you before you got into the mall before them and copped all of “their” deals. “Gang way! Those sweaters are mine, you mother!”
Never mind that its winter and journey to the entrance door is more like a trek through the arctic tundra. I half expected to be eaten by a pack of wolves or gnawed to the bone by a polar bear. By the time I meandered into the mall I was walking and feeling like the proverbial brass monkey; shuffle steps were the order of the day.
The inside of the mall was even worse. Frenzied shoppers filled every store to overflowing. Women’s eyes were glazed over as their husbands trailed them like zombies. The young folk were in packs of roving bargain hunters, otherwise known as “Deal-bangers”.
Chaos, you betchya!
I had two missions on my “honey-do” list – exchange my daughter’s jeans and buy her the fourth book in the Stephanie Meyer Vampire series. Simple, straight forward and doable!
It goes without saying that Hollister had a 50 % off sale and was busier than an ant hill at a picnic. The first young lady I encountered with my problem (getting one size smaller -7/8) pointed her finger and said, “Look over there under the red hoody for that style!” She said that as if I was challenged or something. Shooing me away with a wave of her hand, I had the feeling my deodorant had failed me.
Hell, Hollister has racks and racks of jeans coming out their ying-yang! And, guess what, there was nothing under that hoody that remotely resembled what I carried in the bag. (And, while I’m at it, who the hell fits into a size zero anyway – the invisible woman?)
Shaking and paralyzed with fear, I slither back out into the mall to call the good wife for some advice.
“Don’t be such a wimp. Get back in there,” she says. “It’s simple. Just find a similar style in the right size and exchange it!” Now she’s starting to sound exactly like that mean finger pointer in the store. You know the one who thinks I’m challenged.
Now I know that finding the right jean for my beautiful daughter will be like finding a needle in a denim haystack. But like a good trouper, I head back in to do battle.
The girl with the finger gives it to me again, but I drift by her casually, head high, trying to hide my shopping deficiencies.
Within a minute, another gal steps to the plate and asks, “Can I help you, sir?” She smiles at me like I remind her of her grandfather or something. OK, I can go with that. Advancing age does have advantages.
I give her the rundown on my jean dilemma. I think she’ll realize why I’m wandering aimlessly in a store populated by teenagers and their mothers. “Don’t worry,” she says. “I’ll just look in the back for that size for you.”
In a voice that reaches a pitch higher than I can remember, I say, “OK, I’ll just stand right here and wait for you!”
Now, if you’ve ever been in one of these stores you know all of the young ladies appear as if they’re attending a cleavage convention. There’s more skin here than on Rosie O’Donnell’s backside. One false move and something is surely to fall out. Where the hell do I look?
Suddenly I feel like a pervert. I flip open my cell phone, avert my eyes and act like I’m texting someone. I decide to turn and face the wall and realize I’m in the undergarment section! Hell most of those undies look like a pole dancers G-string or fancy lacy sling-shots.
Well to make a long story short, the young lady returns empty handed but searches the entire store likes she’s on a mission for her grandfather! She finds the elusive jeans that are, “Very close to the ones you brought in, sir!”
As sweat beads form on my forehead I amble over to the sales desk, hoping to get the hell out of here quickly and efficiently.
But alas, my cell phone rings. It’s number two son, otherwise known as the Phenom.
“Dad, you’ve got to come up to Hollister. There’s an incredible sale. There’s 50% off shit and I need money!”
Please don’t be offended but the word “shit” because in the boy’s lexicon this word refers to lot of things like, my shit, your shit, our shit and no shit.
Typically he might call home and ask, “Can you bring my shit when you pick me up?”
I guess I could substitute the word “STUFF” but I feel that would be cheating you of a reality experience since so many of you are onto reality programming.
Nevertheless I respond to his shit by saying, “Ah, well, I’m in the store now,” You see, I can see Kevin, my son’s six foot three friend trying on ball caps.
The son shuffles over and says, “If you buy me these shirts, I’ll pay you back!”
“Wait just a minute!” I complain. “You brought your bank card!”
You see I’ve been up this road before with my son’s little Wimpy and his hamburger ploy.
It goes like this: “You buy me something today; I’ll pay you back tomorrow!”
Forgetfulness in age appropriate chunks works to his advantage. My bank account can attest to that.
My son pleads insanity by adding, “But dad, you know I don’t like using my bank card in stores!” You see the lad has a password, button pressing phobia when it comes to transactions. Maybe it’s those counter clerks with the exposed bass-zooms that make him so nervous.
I say, “Give me the card!”
So what do I do? Like any parachuting parent I trudge through the meandering masses to the bank machine to withdraw the boy’s cash.
Stop and stare.
Stop and stare.
Stop and count.
Stand like a zombie then decide to put cash in pocket or purse. Turn and smile whilst those in line have thoughts of murder and mayhem dance in their heads.
After all of this, I finally bag the pants. PHEEEEEEW!
I’m on to Assignment #2 – find that book, “Breaking Wind”, or whatever it’s called. But crap, the book store is at the other end of the mall about three hundred miles away.
Just as I get up to speed my cell phone jangles again. It’s the Phenom saying, “Dad, Kevin and I are bored. We want to leave now!”
“What? # $ %@ & #@ %!”I cry.
When I catch up with the boys I can see why they’re bored. They each have a bag full of Hollister loot – they’ve spent all of their money, so they’re thinking, “We’re done! Why even look now?”
The art of window shopping has been lost on this generation, I’m afraid!
“Ya, Dad, the deals were great, eh!” the Phenom continues. “We got some great shit. But, we felt like girl’s in that store, looking through every pile and every rack, one thing at a time! It was really weird!”
Yes, I do believe it’s time to leave the mall. We didn’t come here for the boys to explore their feminine side, did we?
The walk to the vehicle is an adventure onto itself. No man’s land seems miles away. The winter winds are howling at 30 miles per hour now, so the flesh on our faces is freezing fast, and there are more cars to dodge. The frozen tears on my cheeks attests to the treacherous nature of this hike into hell.
Finally, we plunk ourselves down in the vehicle and Kevin blurts, “Oh, geez, we’ll have to go back to the mall, I left my bank card in the store!”
“What? # $ %@ & #@ %!”I cry.
“Just kidding,” Kevin finally blurts, amid a chorus of teenage giggles and guffaws from the backseat.
I drive home in silence, gripping the wheel as if to squeeze the plastic into dust.
But here’s the kicker. Today I ask my daughter how those new jeans are doing and here is what she says. “Well, Dad, I really don’t think they’re my style. They’re not me. I think I’ll have to take them back!”
“What? # $ %@ & #@ %!” I lament.
“Geez, Dad, chill will ya, sometimes you act like a challenged person!”
So, that’s enough Mall Mania for me. I ain’t goin’ back there, no way, no how! Next time I’ll leave these tasks to the professional shoppers in my house. The only way you’ll get me out for some post Christmas shopping is if you’re heading to the liquor store, pal!