I decided to put plans for self-improvement on hold yesterday, and started the dreaded Christmas shopping. I love shopping and Christmas so you would think that the two combined would be a dream come true. Not so. I hate Christmas shopping. The shops are too hot and crowded, and the queues are too long, I am aware that there is such a thing as internet shopping. I do my weekly grocery shop online as I also hate grocery shopping. I find buying a bunch of bananas does not excite me in the same way buying a new pair of shoes does. However, when it comes to things other than groceries, I am still a bit old-fashioned. There is something about going into a store and seeing what something actually looks, feels and smells like that I find reassuring and comforting. Besides which, there was a sale on at one of the big department stores and I’d seen a dress in there I’d liked a few weeks ago. I was hoping that they still had it and it was reduced (not technically a Christmas present, I know).
The department store had sent me a very nice leaflet advertising their sale with lots of pictures of gift ideas in it. While I was in the city centre, I could also pop into a couple of other shops and pick-up some more presents. No messing about ordering on the internet, waiting in for parcels to be delivered, having to pop out for five minutes and missing the postman, and then having to make a trip to the post office to pick-up said parcels. I could also have my lunch at a very nice café I know. I was quite looking forward to it
I decided to start with the department store. I knew what I wanted and the store layout so calculated that I should be in and out of there in about forty minutes at the most. However, I had vastly underestimated how much a sale draws in other shoppers. I also hadn’t realised that the store had undergone a refurbishment and moved everything around. I wish they wouldn’t do this. I’m a head-down, in and out as quick as I can kind of shopper so redesigning a store disrupts my momentum. I lose my sense of purpose and wander around like an amnesiac trying to remember what the hell it is that I came in for. And why can you never find a shop assistant when you need one? They’re always there ready to pounce on you when you’re just browsing.
Instead of finding myself in and out like I’m on a military raid, I found myself roaming around trying to find anything that I had earmarked as a potential buy. I eventually found something I was looking for and made off around the store again looking for another item on my list. This, as you can imagine, took some time. When I had found everything I wanted, I realised that I had used up all of my allotted forty minutes, and this was before I had tried on the dress (it was reduced) and queued at the tills. I then tried to find the dressing rooms, but either these had also been moved or I had become so disorientated by the changes in the store I had completed lost my bearings. I eventually found them and looked in horror at the queue. It was very long and to make matters worse everyone seemed to have four or five pieces of clothing to try on. This was when I got to thinking that I should have indeed just have ordered everything online and waited in for days for it to be delivered, because anything had to be better than this. There was, however, worse to come.
Firstly, the dress I had fallen in love with and coveted so much looked hideous on me. Isn’t it disappointing when this happens? You see it on the rail, think it looks amazing, can imagine yourself looking great in it, to find that when you try it on you actually look like a sack of spuds. However, all was not lost as I had found another one that I liked. I then made my way to the till and found that the queues were even longer than the one for the changing room. Luckily, a very helpful shop assistant came along (where was she earlier?!) and pointed me to alternative tills with a promised shorter wait. I sped off before the words were out of her mouth and, did indeed, find a smaller queue. Then one of the tills broke down and I ended up waiting longer then if I had stayed in the first one.
Still I was home and dry now. I may have spent twice as long as I intended in the store, but I had made some purchases and was on my way out. I then noticed that one of the things I had bought was damaged. I won’t recap on the torrent of abuse I muttered under my breath at this point as I headed back to the floor where I had found the damaged item. I guess you can work that out for yourself. Needless to say they didn’t have another one. I then had to queue for a refund. The girl on the till did offer to see if they had another one in store, but I declined her kind offer and said, in a somewhat strained voice, that I would order one online instead.
This was when I decided to go home. Sod the other shops, sod lunch in the café. I was hot, bothered and extremely cross. I suddenly appreciated what a truly marvellous invention the internet is, and realised that you really can’t beat sitting in the comfort of your own home, clicking away. Except, I do need to go back to the department store as the dozy shop assistant forgot to take the security tag out of my lovely, new dress. And as I have to go back to the city centre, perhaps I could just pop into those other shops. It will save me the bother of waiting in after all.