Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

64-62 Days Until of Presidential Election: Cookie Monster, Jury Trials and Shopping Malls

September 5, 2012

Day 64: I love my blue furried monster.  I mean, really, how can you not love Cookie Monster? COOOOKIE! (But he doesn’t like celery!).  In a weird twist of fate, Big Bird and I share the same birthday (he’s a bit older, not by much).  I was part of the “original” Sesame Street Generation.  Growing up in the middle of Ohio and then northern Illinois, there wasn’t a lot of diversity: apartments? Corner stores? Different ethnicities? And Spanish?  To this day, I say I speak Sesame Street Spanish (pretty close).  Sesame Street taught me a lot of things: how to count, that really you should eat your vegetables before cookies (sorry my furry friend) and that monsters and birds CAN be friends. I haven’t watched Sesame Street since Mr. Hooper died (I tuned it in because they did a special episode over Thanksgiving my junior year in college: I cried.  My brother mocked me – he’s good at that but he’s an Underdog kid). Apparently Snuffy can be seen by adults but one of the little slivers of that makes this country great is Sesame Street: if anything, it gives those of us who grow up in the middle of the country a glimpse of what another part of the world looks like.

Day 63: I was driving home the other day and there was a new story about another individual being punished by tribunal. As I waited to turn into my parking lot, I realized one thing I’m grateful for: a jury of my peers to determine my guilt.  I’ve never been called to jury duty but it’s the concept.  Yes, it’s really not a “jury of peers” but a jury representative of our community. I’ve lived where there is not a jury system.   We take this right for granted: that if we are accused, we can confront our accuser, we can be tried in an open system.  Yeah, that’s a slice of this place I’d fight for.

62: Ok, I don’t like shopping malls except for in the middle of summer or winter when I’m feeling a bit closed in and decide I have to see exactly how untrendy I am (very) or decide I completely and totally need a (very useless) gadget.  In all semi-seriousness, malls have served some decent purposes: they housed the world’s first indoor rollercoaster (Old Chicago, Bolingbrook Illinois), provided introduction to many people of (American) Japanese, Indian, Thai and Mexican foods, provided countless first jobs, part time work, converted great parks into vast consumerist spots (hmmm, ok that is a bad idea).  Really, the best part of the mall is the store that constantly keeps giving me new iPhones as things keep happening to mine.

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Fashion and the Politics of Hair

January 21, 2012

First, for the important news of the week.  It snowed in Boston. Twice. Yeah!!  Now for the truly mundane.  Had a minor shopping trip last week with a friend of mine (ok, not really minor in the fact I was actually IN A MALL but work with me).  I realize I’m not the fashionista I once was when I worked for the company from hell.  But given what was FOR SALE I maintain that wearing Dansko’s, khakis and sweater, shirt or t-shirt depending on the occasion is the most sane way of dressing.

The first thing that scared me?

Um, at least it's orange?

Um, at least it's orange?

 

This odd item was at Lord and Taylor.  We were pretty sure it wasn’t a single leg warmer for an elephant.  It appears to be a tube dress for an adult. Ok, growing up when this was fashionable-the-first-time, I shudder that we are returning to the economics of the Ford/Carter/early Regan eras based on what we are being shown as acceptable in the fashion world.  Let’s face it: dress well, feel good.  Putting that on, even if I was a size negative 2, I wouldn’t feel good.  I’d feel lost, misguided, wondering if my friends were secretly plotting to get me on the auditions of American Idol so they could mock me.  As I wondered how such a garment could impact the primary season, my friend pointed out the obvious, most people are too fat to wear that.  Uh, yeah. Sad thing is, most people don’t have her common sense.  I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a dog blanket for a German Shepherd or something. Ok, I really hope it was a small dog apparel item gone wrong that somehow wound up with a designer label.

The fashion crisis only became worse when we went into DSW.  Ok. SERIOUSLY? These are the “styles”.  Note, if you have a kid, urge him/her to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in ankles.  In about 20 years, there is going to a be a BOOM in the need for ankle replacements.

Hi, I'm here for my PT appointment. . .

Hi, I'm here for my PT appointment. . .

 

For the evenings!

For the evenings!

 

The great shopping debacle led me to realize this is wrong with this country.  We are settling for bad fashion people!  How can we possibly accept the current slate of GOP candidates? How can we take them seriously?  I mean, look at their hair!

Psst, next time dye the sideburns

Psst, next time dye the sideburns

 

Hey, Mitt, can I borrow some of that gel stuff?

Hey, Mitt, can I borrow some of that gel stuff?

 

Stacey and Clinton are around somewhere. . .

Stacey and Clinton are around somewhere. . .

 

Proving that one popular night-time pundit is right: a vote for Herman Cain, is a vote for well, the best dressed GOPer (and hence, not on the ballot).

Of course you can trust me! I won Thumbs up 7up!

Of course you can trust me! I won Thumbs up 7up!

Maybe I’ll Learn to Sew and Other Thoughts on Shopping

January 8, 2012

Today I had to do the dreaded “I need work clothes” shopping trip.  Somethings (root canals, paying bills, dealing with faux-drama) all rate ahead of shopping.  In what can only be described as a twisted sense karma, I can actually shop *for* other people.  I can whip together new wardrobes, provide selections to try on and do all the things somebody who has as, her default position, based in retail.  When it comes to me? Sigh.

Body image 101.  I’m pretty sure this impacts most women people at some level.  Today, I had a fairly normal first stop: I went to the Nordstrom Rack to use some Nordstrom Notes and hit their end of season clearance sale (pics on the hit or misses tomorrow).  Suffice to say, that for the price of one dress, I managed to get a ton of stuff for the nieces and nephews, a dress, 2 sweaters and a shirt.  Not bad.  The warning bell in my head (the one I rarely listen to but really need to!) said “go home, reconfigure your closet and come back again.” Sigh.

I headed over to Central/Davis Square area and a few resale shops including a pretty fairly rated Goodwill in Central Square.  Never again.  And by “never again”, I mean I won’t step foot into the Central Square Goodwill.  I walked in my typical Saturday garb: College logo sweatshirt, hair in pony tail, jeans, Dankso’s.  Not exactly sexy, but I’m doing errands.  I started flipping through the racks and an employee came up to me and very gently said “Honey, we don’t carry your size here.”

I was appalled.  No, I was humiliated.  Look, I’m not a size 10 or 12.  I float between an 18 and 20 which is WAY down from my college weight.  I float between an XL, 1X and 2X depending on the cut and make (hello, most people float between 2-3 sizes).  Now, in my stellar running amuck garb and my hair up, I do look heavier.  I stammered something out about ok, thanks and dashed off a text to some friends who know my disdain of shopping.  I found myself shaking: some random woman had managed to say something that left me feeling worse than dirt.  All I wanted was some stupid layering items, or something fun.  I wanted to try to do something to augment the insane amount of clothing that is purchased new, made in places like China.  Hell, I just wanted to trawl through the racks and see if I could find something fun or funny.  In short, I just wanted to enjoy my day.  And it ended with “honey, we don’t carry your size” and some random stranger walking away.  The irony, is, of course that I did find some things in my size but at that point was shaking and near tears.  I simply walked out.

After wandering around a bit, I went to the store in Davis Square. Ok, it was meh.  They had “helpfully” put the larger sizes in its own section.  But I realized how much I just didn’t care.  I was over clothes shopping.  There was one last hope: Buffalo Exchange.  I didn’t realize it was a chain (I walked by it on my way to Goodwill).  Sigh. I got the eye rolls when I walked in: ok, at this point, I was thinking costume jewelry, cheap ass sunglasses and maybe a purse.  Not only did I laugh at their prices (seriously, you could do better at lower end retail stores), I was off put by their attitude: especially when I left and heard two employees say “I knew she wouldn’t buy anything here”.  Wow.

Look, I know I need to lose weight.  I also know that I’m not going to do it on the diet du jour.  I also have the lovely additional problem of 2 artificial hips that have had about 26 surgeries between them.  It’s not a matter of just “hitting the gym”: it’s a matter of finding the right balance.  Oh, and yeah, losing the $580/month bill for my health insurance so I can afford to buy a gym membership at a place with a pool.  I wanted to scream that at all the ultra judgemental looks, people and asshats.  A few of them, I want them to just stand on their feet for 9 hours and feel the throbbing pummeling pain that destroys my body when I do that.

Actually, you know what I wish? I wish people would just mind their own effing business.  I went into a retail store (which, unless my basic grasp of economics is off, sales brings on profits which, in turn, determines staffing needs which, work with me, helps people in retail keep jobs) and was treated like dirt.  Next time, I’ll just hit up eBay.  At least there, I can’t hear or see the judgements.

(A not so) Best Buy: Tales in (missing) Customer Service

November 29, 2011

I’m sure this is karmic revenge for my friends who are tired of hearing me rail on the evils of on-line box stores.  First, let me be clear, this was my good deed of the decade as I was trying to help my sister surprise her tweeners.  It turned out to be my pro-local business, über vigilance coming back to bite me in the butt.  (Really, Santa, it was a GOOD DEED!).  My sister wanted to purchase a video gaming system for her kids for Christmas: since she has prying eyes, we agreed I’d get it for her, she’d pay me back – thus avoiding the problem of a possible false flag for credit card fraud and a surprise on Christmas morning.

Somehow, I managed to check every hour, on the hour, until this blasted thing went on sale.  I pre-notified my credit card company of out of habit spending.  I got it! I received the happy email from Best Buy saying “we will be sending this shortly”.  Great, I could see the authorization hold on my card and thought nothing of it.

Yesterday, I received and e-mail saying their was a problem with my credit card.  Since I don’t shop at Best Buy (and note, never will again), I decided to call them (being a bit paranoid about credit card scams since the on-line status said my order was pending).  I was on hold 10 minutes. .  .to be transferred to the department that handles payments for games.  Ok, seriously? It’s a CREDIT CARD.  I sat on hold for 27 minutes (thankfully, I was working on a table at work) before being told my credit card had been denied. What? I provided them the authorization number given to me by the always fantastic American Express.

So, it turns out when you have an order shipped in more than one package (and there wasn’t a ship complete option!), Best Buy re-authorizes your credit card. Each. Time.  My credit card company thought it was fraud. Fast forward 6 hours (!!!!).  I had called Best Buy numerous times: including a supervisor who when I asked to speak to a manager said she didn’t have one: I pointed out she had a boss, even the CEO has a boss, called the customer service number listed on www.bestbuy.com and was told this number wasn’t for dot.com orders (what?) and that customer service couldn’t help me.  After much frustration and a bit of laughter from my co-workers I finally found somebody who could answer my question: the order was forced through after calls between Best Buy and American Express.  The person who “researches” internet issues told me she’s had a few hundred of these complaints.  Gee, I wonder why? Charging-refunding-charging cards? All with fees attached to both the consumer and company?

I’m livid with Best Buy, I’ll be writing several individuals in the company.  But oh, did I deserve it: I knew I should have bought the damn thing locally.  And trust me, I’m not going to purchase anything from Best Buy Worse Experience Ever again.  And the kicker? People asking me what they could do to help: hint, fix my order.