Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Mallidays

On Saturday the 17th, I took my aunt shopping for clothes. My mother and her youngest sister are both, tragically, clothes-shopping-impaired.  They require a skilled facilitator in order to maintain their wardrobes.  I am happy to oblige. 

You may be asking yourself: "Is Sparkling Red insane? Why on earth would she schedule a clothes-shopping trip right at the peak of the Christmas rush?"  The answers are: 1) Yes, but you already knew that; and 2) because my aunt has been wearing the same two sweaters and three pairs of identical black pants to work every day for the past Lord-knows-how-many months. It was a fashion crisis!

How did we survive, and even enjoy our day?  I am about to share with you, the privileged few, my shopping secrets. I trust you to be discrete.

1) Use a granny buggy.
Worried about looking uncool? Forget about it. There will be plenty of time for posing later, when you're wearing your new outfits. Bring along a wheeled shopping buggy to carry your purse (that sucker sure gets heavy once you've been hauling it around for a couple of hours), your coat (no need to sweat while you shop), and your purchases.

2) Locate a source of water.
The price for a bottle of water varies widely among various retailers in the same mall.  The movie theatre will charge you $3.50, the upscale sandwich place in the food court asks for $2.25, but I've found two places in my local mall that only charge $1. Bingo!

3) Be willing to go out of your way for a clean washroom.
Mall washrooms by the food court or the main entrance are filthy, stinky, and distasteful.  However, if you do your research you can often find cleaner bathrooms hidden away in quiet corners.  The best bet in a multi-storey department store is to go up to the top floor, where they sell corduroy-covered recliners and washing machines.  The secret washrooms in my local mall are inside a sit-down restaurant, but accessible to the public via a pass-through next to their take-out counter.  Because there's no signage pointing out these facilities to passers-by, I often have the ladies room all to myself.  Luxury!

4) Shop for clothes on the Saturday before Christmas.
This only works if you're at a pokey little local mall, like we were.  If you try it at the big ones, like Yorkdale or the Eaton Centre, you deserve all the suffering in store for you. 
The key to this point is: on December 17th, almost no one is shopping for themselves.  Everyone is buying gifts.  Therefore: no lineups for the change-rooms!  It's grand!

My shopping strategies proved themselves.  My aunt found 5 items of clothing and a sassy piece of costume jewellery to complete her outfits.  Another satisfied customer.


Jenski said...

Good points all around, but particularly about the change rooms!

DarcKnyt said...

I have no idea how people can go through life without a strategy. Well done! :)

Tracy Makara said...

You are a brave, brave woman! I will be jumping into the fray tomorrow. My stepmother accidentally picked up the wrong size pair of jeans for my dad so I will be doing exchange duty. My skin is prickling already because I try to avoid the pre-Christmas shoppers like the plague. But...how do you say no to an ailing older lady? I will remember your tips for tomorrow. You did good :)

wigsf3 said...

Yes. I thought you were mad.

Okay, I know for a fact for you to be mad. I just thought the madness was in other aspects of life, not mall shopping a week before Christmas mad.

Woman have change rooms too? When I go clothes shopping for a woman, I just put out both of my hands, cup them just so and say "Yeah, she's about this size." I figured women just did the same but said "Yeah, I'm about this size."

LL Cool Joe said...

Yep I thought you were mad too. Glad to say I don't go out shopping anymore. I sit on my arse in front of a computer and get my stuff online. I'm a fairly standard size, so I'm normally fine. No one would ever want to clothes shop with me! :D

The only thing left to buy for Christmas, is booze and food. I'm sorted!

Lynn said...

All great tips! Especially the restroom tip - that's a great one. My sister has a bladder the size of a pea and used a bathroom at Macy's in New York City that I wouldn't have touched with a 10 foot pole. I walked in and whirled around and walked out saying I would just hold it. :)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Remember when the bathrooms are really nasty usually the sink isn't that disgusting.... just saying...

Sparkling Red said...

Jenski: Lining up for change rooms and then lining up again at the cash register is irritation squared.

DarcKnyt: Thanks! I bring my managerial skills to bear on all aspects of my life. Just ask my husband. ;-)

Tracy: I hope your exchange adventure wasn't too awful. It would probably have been easier for you to knit him a pair of pants in the right size. ;-)

wigsf: That would work for both boobs and butts. Good system!

LL Cool Joe: Nice work! I would enjoy shopping online more if the Postal Service could be relied upon to deliver the packages to my home. If no one is there to answer the doorbell, or if they just feel lazy, they leave a notice. Then I have to go stand in line at the post office to pick up the package. I may as well have bought it at a store.

Lynn: Before I figured out all my food sensitivities one of my symptoms was needing to pee every 20-30 minutes. It was very inconvenient. I learned all the "secret" bathroom locations in downtown Toronto.

Ron: So you're saying the sink isn't disgusting when you walk into the men's room, but it's definitely disgusting by the time you walk out!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Shhh.... that's a secret... if everybody knows then the sinks will be as bad as the rest of the place.

Jameil said...

#4 is brilliant! Never would've thought of that! But that's also partly b/c my mom taught us to gift ourselves for Christmas as well! :)

Granny Annie said...

I have always detested shopping. It never dawned on me to develop a strategy before going. Perhaps you have changed my life with a single blog post. Thanks!

DarcsFalcon said...

Those are some great tips, Spark! I may venture into a mall yet! LOL

Have a blessed and bountiful Christmas!