Posted by: drrozkaplan | December 27, 2009

Mall Sickness

Yesterday Larry and I, in some bizarre loss of our senses, decided to brave the mall on the day after Christmas.  We had no grand plan. We had no gifts to return.  We didn’t need anything in particular, and we aren’t the kind of shoppers who will do anything to get to a sale.  I avoid ‘Black Friday’ as though it is the black plague.  The idea of stalking for parking spots gives me agita and crowds usually make me feel vertiginous.  So why I would willingly get in the car with my husband and go to King of Prussia Mall on one of the heaviest shopping days of the year still eludes me.  I think maybe we felt left out.  We hadn’t been to the mall in probably close to a year.  We had done virtually no holiday shopping except on line and in little boutiques, one gift at a time.  We’d been on kind of a no-spend since we started paying college tuition.  The places we’d spent the most money this year (besides Wesleyan University) were Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target. getting our son equipped for freshman year.  So this foolhardy trip to the mall was,perhaps, an attempt to feel part of the consumer-driven holiday world.

We entered the mall through Nordstrom, where the annual Men’s Sale had begun.  We decided to divide and conquer and meet up in 30 minutes.  Larry headed to Men’s apparel, and I went upstairs and began wading through the seemingly hundreds of racks of women’s clothing.  I only looked at sale items, and after a while, realized that everything looked alike, I didn’t know what size I wore, and I didn’t really need anything, anyway.  I ended up trying on jeans, noting that I had not bought a pair of jeans in at least 5 years and that the jeans on sale looked nothing like the ones I owned.  Therefore, mine must be very out of style, right?  I started with a size that was, apparently, 3 sizes too big, because that was the size I thought I was.  I was willing to put on something that was too big and have to find a smaller size, but not willing to put on something too small and find that the waist would only  go over my thigh, or that I looked like a sausage in a casing.  By the time I found a pair that fit and that I actually thought looked pretty good, Larry was calling me on my cell phone, asking me where I was.

I was pretty happy with my jeans purchase.  50% off (never mind that jeans apparently cost upwards of $150 now- what happened to the $40 Levi’s I used to buy?  I still have some of those!  They go all the way up to my natural waist which tells you about my former  jean fashion sense)  and very chic.  I can tuck these into boots.  Cool.  Larry found nothing at the Men’s Sale.  He got too overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise and gave up.

We left Nordstrom and entered the Mall proper.  It was teeming with people.  We decided to just walk and see what we passed.  There was a mob scene inside the Ralph Lauren store.  We decided they must be giving things away so we went in.  Virtually nothing was on sale.  They were showing entire winter white outfits for women, plaid vests and sport coats with the standard ‘Polo’ tie for men.  Most of the visitors were foreign.  I guess the idea of the American fox-hunting set was very appealing to them.  I personally don’t get it.

Walking further, we passed throngs of adolescents and scads of families with escaping toddlers and babies in strollers.  Every store had a “SALE!!!” sign.  We went into Neiman Marcus (Larry likes to call it “Needless Markup”) and looked at the high fashion clothing, most of which we are too unsophisticated to understand.  In the men’s shoe department, I had a particular issue with a pair of baby-pink patent leather oxfords.  I really can’t imagine who would wear them, or to what kind of occasion.  Maybe they are for some kind of sporting event I have never attended.

After Neiman’s, we headed to the one place I intended to go, Teavana, where we purchased a very pretty cast-iron teapot and some loose teas of several varieties.  We sampled some of their brewed tea in preparation for plowing back through the now-even-thicker crowd on the way back to the car.

By the time we walked back through the maze and made it to our car, my agita and vertigo had begun.  There really is only so much mall-crawling I can take.  I’d say we were there 2 hours before I hit my wall.

Perhaps the economy  is on its way to some kind of recovery.  Or maybe the mall is just entertainment, and people are, like us, looking much more than they are buying.  I doubt we’ll be going back for quite some time; that trip was enough to satisfy my rampant consumerism for a good six months or so.  Maybe the mall is best-suited  for the young and brave.  Me, I’ve come back to my senses.  The next time I need something, I’ll be buying on line.

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