Saturday, July 2, 2011

Post 29

I went to buy some shorts today. I am no great shakes at buying clothing, since I am both cheap and tender to wander into the ownership of clothing rather than acquiring it through direct pursuit. Today, however, I had a clear mission: I wanted shorts and I wanted them to be a color other than khaki. My search had started last week at Macy's, where I pored fruitlessly through racks of jeans and bathing suits. This week, I started at Banana Republic, attracted by the promise of a sale. Inside, I was tempted by a pair of khaki shorts, but as I was being led to the changing rooms I ascertained from the attendant that I had stumbled on an article of clothing born immune to sales and reductions. Inside the booth, I discarded the shorts and jotted down some notes in a notebook instead, savoring the privacy. I exited to find the clerk waiting. "Any luck?" she asked, a question I still don't understand. What was supposed to happen? Was there a dollar in there I could have found? "Uh, yeah, but I'm not gonna get the shorts" I muttered, looking down. "Ah," she replied. I scurried out.

Banana Republic was followed by The Gap, a store in a midlife crisis. My image of Gap is that of a no-frills store, or at least one in which frills are on backorder. On entering, I saw that it had abandoned its plain-jane flourescent lighting in favor of thumping music and large plasma screen TVs. Again, I tried on a pair of khaki shorts. The changing booths didn't lock, and a woman knocked on the door and started to open the door. I yelled "OCCUPIED" and forced it shut before she could see anything. Why was I the embarrassed one in that situation?

I ambled into Nordstrom; my greenhorn status as a shopper means I know very little about the relative prices of stores. I sat down to examine some shorts, saw the $80 price tag, and leapt up.

At this point, I swallowed my pride and ducked into Abercrombie and Fitch, America's oldest retail rave. The place reeked of cologne: it was a radical shift from the walkways of the mall, where Auntie Anne rules with a benevolent cinnamon fist. I walked along the walls of naked men strewn out in black-and-white, but again I was disappointed by the selection.

I helped myself to some more of my pride and stopped at Hollister, Abercrombie's beach-bum friend with benefits. Here, finally, was the pair of shorts I was looking for. I bought them (on sale, too!) and hustled back out to the safety of the mall. The bag the clerk gave me was decorated with a shirtless man on each side. I ran for the parking lot. When I got home, I showed my mom. "Hmm!" she said.

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