1) I love to see the shock on a woman’s face when I say this.
“You are a woman (belonging to the female species they mean, it has nothing to do with my age or maturity) and you hate shopping?” they exclaim in horror. It is almost as if I let slip the unutterable. Even Professor Horace Slughorn was more tolerant of Harry Potter’s defiant insistence to call the Dark Lord, Voldemort. I love even more that grateful, almost thankful, look on a man’s face when I say this. I believe fondness for beer, wine or caviar for some is a matter of acquired taste. Well, shopping is my ‘acquired hate’. If you have been dragged along from one saree shop to another as a child, you would understand my exact sentiment.
2) The metal detector and frisking.
If I was a terrorist, what kind of a low self esteem terrorist would I have to be to plot blowing up your store? Not only do I have to put my bag through a screen for you to peek into the contents of my bag but I also have to be subject to being felt up each time I want to shop. Had I known, I would have been better dressed. Lastly, would you mind lending your metal detectors for use at our local railway stations or to the cops at the Gateway of India or to any other government building? The ones there, sure as hell, aren’t working.
3) The process of selection.
If you go to the shops selling clothes especially, they don’t usually have the clothes lined up on hangers for you to select. The clothes are all stacked up and the salesperson has to take them out to show you. Now, there are different breeds of salesmen. The first one will be the over-enthusiastic kind. Showing you every dress, blissfully oblivious to your choice or your attempt to get him to hear what you actually want. The disinterested kind. These are generally the older salesmen. They will frown, grunt or swear under their breath and remain distracted. It is almost as if you are torturing them into showing you the new arrivals. The persistent kind. The kind that do not understand the word no or that walking away or out of the shop is not some cheap Bollywood movie trick of walking away hoping for your attention or constant pursuit. The snobbish kind. You would find this breed at outlets of international brands. They act as if they own or as if they can afford the over-priced clothing displayed to tempt you. If you ask them for something in a bigger size, one look at you and they say, “Ma’am, I don’t think this is available in your size”. The nerve! Ah, but not without the polite Ma’am. The lecherous kind. The kind that think that your eyes or your mouth, used for asking them the prices, is two inches below your chin. Would where you are staring at pay for the f@#$ing clothes? Argg!
4) The big fight.
I am sorry but I belong to a civilized community of people who refuse to fight over a single piece of clothing. I am sure we have all witnessed the very entertaining sight of two women fighting over the same pair of shoes or even clothes. A word of caution: do not bother to intervene. It hardly ever helps and you never know when you would have to bear the brunt of it, especially husbands of the said women. Well, it could be looked upon as Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ presentation on display, flat 50% off.
5) The changing room.
Well, don’t we have enough queues to wait in already? Once you do get inside after an annoying wait, you think it gets better. How naïve! I am no Kim Kardashian or Gisele Bündchen. I don’t know if it is just me or that those mirrors coupled with the unflattering (for mere mortals, you and me) lighting in those rooms magnifies every tiny blemish on your face. Moreover, just in case you thought you din’t need to thread your eyebrows or remove that hint of a moustache, well, this Queen’s mirror from Snow White hell, will remove all your doubts.
6) Disappointment and depression.
Not moneywise dummy. What are boyfriends, husbands or credit cards for? It is about not finding the right size of clothing to fit you. After that life transforming trip to the changing room, you realise you need the next size of that dress. In case you are not lucky enough to find that size, not only does it suck to be deprived of something you really like but you are also reminded that you are umm…how should I put it?…corpulent or healthy or visibly prosperous perhaps?
7) Overhearing the not-so-kind words that the salesmen have to say about previous customers.
It makes you wonder what they would have to say about you. Mostly, women are guilty of this. They bitch about the previous customer’s towering heels and how obnoxious she looked in them or worse the fact that someone older was wearing clothes meant for a teenager. Ouch! Wonder what they would have to say about me? Loser who can’t decide what to buy?
8) The minor heart attack knowing the price of the item.
Don’t get me wrong, I love bargaining. I go all out at Linking road, Causeway, Hill road, Chor Bazaar. But, in a mall or for that matter Shoppers Stop, Globus, Lifestyle or Westside or the million malls opening each day in Mumbai, you just have to suck it up and pay. Luckily, you have the price tag attached to the clothes, so you can save face by proclaiming to have not liked the colour as your reason for not buying that item.
9) Payments counter woes.
My luck ensures that I will be fatally attracted to the store’s slowest queue. I am Murphy’s law personified. Not only will I have to wait long for my turn, the moment I reach the counter, their stupid bill machine will begin to act up. Then the process of digging for the membership card, them discovering certain item have no tags (not my fault), the not-so-friendly and impatient store personnel and the sometimes incompetent staff who find it absolutely necessary to chat among themselves while I wait to settle the bill. Just my luck!
10) The pestering sales representative selling membership cards.
Ok, if I really would like to be a member of this store, I will approach you. Your constant harassment will not earn points in favour of your store. Not only will these sales representatives bore you with the details of the benefits of becoming a member, they will never remember that they had approached you the last time you shopped there. Eventually, just to get rid of them, you will enroll as the member. Not too bad a way to ensure someone becomes a member. Try try till you succeed or the more appropriate (in this case) harass harass till they relent. Wonder which MBA school teaches one that?
Oh by the way, all the above mentioned stores have sales going on this week. Happy shopping for those seeking some retail therapy. How do I know? I am a member, remember?