Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Retail

If you felt the earth move this week, it was because I actually entered a retail establishment and participated in the consumer economy. Not for me -- after years of clothing Stella exclusively via hand-me-downs and purchases from second-hand stores I bit the bullet and went to Kohl's to get her some warm winter pants. I fully anticipate that my $32.67 purchase will invigorate the retail sector and give a boost to the economic recovery, thereby creating a significant number of jobs and insuring President Obama's re-election.

 Just imagine what would have happen if I had also bought socks!

This photo has nothing to do with anything, but you
must admit it's extremely cute.
Going shopping was traumatic, but I knew I had to do it before Thanksgiving. The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I mostly just cower in my house, crouching and rocking, with my hands over my eyes, muttering "So...much....traffic...." Any time I venture anywhere near the mall during the holiday season, I am flabbergasted by the sheer amount of cars on the road, all vying to get to Old Navy. I think it's because I don't have a lot of contact with consumer culture, so when I am exposed to it, I find it overwhelming. Slower activities are more my speed, like maybe churning butter. Or hitching up the mules to the plow.

We also tried to buy Stella some new shoes. I say "try," because Baby W was in heaven when he saw the boxes of shoes on the shelves, many of which he emptied onto the floor. By the time I had decided that there weren't any shoes that fit Stella properly, he had made such a mess that I considered invoking the Walk Away Clause. This is appropriate when you are in a public place and your child has a head start on making a mess, so while you are trying to clean up, your child is making additional messes. In other words, if you clean up mess n, your child will have created mess n+1 during this time. If this happens, the best thing you can do is pick up your child and Walk Away. Quickly.

I actually did not invoke the Walk Away Clause when it came time to leave, but instead shoved random shoes into random boxes and stacked them on random shelves. If you open a box and inside find a size 2 mary jane and a size 5 sneaker, you'll know we were there. That's Baby W's calling card.

Another cute, random photo
Finally we had selected our merchandise and I went to check out. But then I was offered a discount if I signed up for the store credit card. You know how a bird that is trapped inside a building will beat itself against a closed window? I felt the same way -- so close to heading out the door, yet trapped  at the checkout counter while my desire to flee battled with, and ultimately lost to, my desire to save 15%. I doubt that trapped bird would hit its head on the window so hard if it knew it could also get on the mailing list for valuable coupons.

The bottom line is that I managed to go out and buy my daughter a few pairs of pants at the store, something many people manage to accomplish every weekend. Still, it was a new experience for me. I learned a few things -- for starters, if I ever do this again, I need to bring a stroller to contain Baby W. But I figure I won't need to return to the store anytime soon, hopefully not until well into 2012. In the meantime, I'm going to go darn some socks.

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