Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today's Rant/Rave: Shopping

Life is short.  See Chagall first.
Most people are writing about Christmas right now, and of course, Christmas shopping is a good blog topic.  I hate Christmas shopping even more than regular shopping.  Basically I hate any kind of shopping.  I get "mall brain" before we've even parked the car.  "Mall brain" is like the shopping version of "museum brain."  That's a phrase I developed for that overload you get when you've taken the family on a Sunday outing to the museum and it gets to be 3:45 or so and you've just had it.  There's just too much art.  It's just too much to look at.  After a while it's not fun anymore.  So I always head to the moderns first, then the impressionists.  I'm sure you have your order as well.  For once my OCD does not require me to begin with the cave art and proceeding in chronological order.  

Where was I?  Oh yes, mall brain.  Shopping.  Right.  I hate clothes shopping and I'll tell you why:
1.  Three-way mirrors.  
2.  No money.  
3.  Nothing looks good.  
4.  Three-way mirrors.  

[Ed. note:  No doubt some of you love Marshalls and that is great for you.  When you write a blog about how much you love Marshalls,  I promise not to come over and comment about how much I hate Marshalls if you'll refrain from telling me how much you love Marshalls on my blog about how much I hate it.  How's that for a deal?  Better than the one you'll get at Marshalls, I daresay.]

Shopping at Marshalls is a battle.  First, I am already stressed before I set foot inside the place because there is some incipient life event that is necessitating this clusterfuck.  An alliance is forming (wedding, baptism, bris), an alliance is about to be formed (job interview), an alliance has ended (funeral).  And I suppose a bris is also ending the alliance between a foreskin and a penis.   In any case, there is a change in the human condition that is challenging my ability to accept it.  Mostly because it requires new clothes.  Cue Henry David Thoreau.  Head to Marshalls.

If there were enough lead time, I would have scored a deal at Goodwill, because I would have had the time and the patience required by that sort of shopping (fishing) expedition.  Don't ask me why I prefer the Goodwill experience, so similar to Marshalls, yet so different. Maybe it's the comfort of other people's clothes.  Someone chose this item once, someone thought it was a good idea.  Or maybe their mother did.  But times changed, waistlines grew and the owner moved on.  Their clothing ended up here.  For me to pass up or to choose to buy for 6.99.

This is what I see when I think "shopping."
At Marshalls, there is similar disarray, linoleum floors, multitudes of racks, horrible lighting.  Discount prices on brand name clothes, so the shoppers are aware of fashion, but at the mercy of the merchandisers.  They want name brands, but not at name brand prices, so that makes them both shallow and cheap.  Double fail.  And apparently they love to shop.  So we have absolutely nothing in common.

Shopping makes me feel stabby.
I paw through the clothes, the racks of ugliness.  Where is the plain cream-colored jersey shell that is all that stands between me and that job?  Where is the black wool dress in a size 16?  How could my uncle have the nerve to die on the East Coast in December.   I have no winter dress clothes any more because where I live it is never cold enough for that.  I push my way through the racks, slam the hangers down the poles, giving each item a scornful, cursory glance.  Begging the clothes to be what I want, fighting with them, disgusted by them.  Enraged that I have to be wasting my time on this futile, tiresome quest.  I could instead be running with my dog on the trail to the bay.  I could instead be howling the blues, slapping my guitar,  pretending to be Bonnie Raitt, or at least on tour as one of her back-up singers.  I could instead be having a Breaking Bad marathon with my teens because we love it so much and their dad would hate it if he knew that we watched it.  Because any of those things are going to do me way more good than looking for the blouse I will never find despite my nightmarish scavenger hunt through Marshalls.  Basically because situationally appropriate clothes I like in a size that fits at a price I can afford just. DO. NOT. EXIST. 

Turns out I was supposed to reinvent myself this week.  I completely fucking forgot.  And now there's no time because I can't afford Ann Taylor or Bloomingdale's.  So after a miserable hour, I heave a huge sigh and leave Marshalls empty-handed, just as I knew I would, talking to myself like the crazy woman waiting outside the store with her cat in a shopping cart.  Only she is dressed way better than I am. 

There *is* one kind of shopping I like.  In my view, the only good kind of shopping is food shopping.  Even if I can't afford it, I'm pretty sure no matter what I get, I will like it and it will be the right size.  Even if it's expensive, it's still a great price compared to what I am forced to spend on clothes I don't want, hate wearing, and can't wait to take off.

*Now* we're cooking with gas like Sylvia Plath
I love to shop for food.   I love the farmers market, the fancy cheese shop, the Chinese bakery, even the supermarket.  I draw the line at Costco, though.  Costco makes me feel anxious because there are so many other things to look at besides food.  For example--clothes.)

Food is my companion, my ally, my muse.  I love to think about it, to smell it, to taste it. I love to read about it (except on Facebook at Thanksgiving--check out my blog post about that).  I love to plan how I'm going to make it, what wine I'm going to drink with it, how it's going to look, how much the people around me are going to love it and love me for making it.

I don't get anything even remotely like that kind of gratification from clothes.   I infinitely prefer food.   And who could blame me?


  1. Oh, the "racks of ugliness;" "Begging the clothes to be what I want, fighting with them, disgusted by them." I loathe clothes shopping for significant events. It's one of the times when I'm grateful that a have a physical job. I buy my blue jeans at the Tractor Supply store. No lie.

  2. I hate shopping too. But then I never try anything on because I hate 3 way mirrors more. And I LOVE GOODWILL. Somebody picked it and loved it before so it must be good. Food shopping is the best. Can you just put it all away for me please?

  3. "shoppping makes me feel stabby"

    i KNEW i just could't be the only one!!

  4. "Turns out I was supposed to reinvent myself this week. I completely fucking forgot." This realization comes to me every Friday of my life, without fail. You do understand that I am having to sit on my hands to keep from talking about Marshall's? Not because I care anything for it, but because I am a 16 year old trapped inside a 36 year old body and you said I couldn't.

  5. Darnit!! I'm never using my iPad to post again. It deletes everything!!! Argh!

  6. Shopping makes me stabby.

    That comment has made my morning! I always tell people that I can't go shopping on Black Friday because I would end up in jail.

  7. So many things in your blog remind me exactly of me. "Having to" behave in a "normal" manner while (mostly) silently suffering from SAD, anxiety and/or depression at any given moment is difficult to say the least. Thank you so much for the insight and the laughs!

  8. Oh Gawd. Finally, someone else who understands why I cant do Marshall's, Ross's, Burlington Coat Factory or Hudson's. I need organization to shop. I hate it so much that it needs to be set out in a nice little row so I can do it quickly.

  9. Yes. Yes. Yes. Ditto to Ross & TJ Maxx. Screw cute shit not in my size or out of my price range. For those reasons & more, shopping for anything else but food is a migraine in the making. Love, love, love all things Good Will!! I land big fish every time I go. Lol.

  10. I too hate Marshall's, Ross, and TJ Maxx unless I'm looking in the home section..they have cool stuff back there. Clothes? Hell no, I do not have the patience and they have nothing for us full figured gals. Goodwill is hit or miss, I'll hit Sears, JCPenney, Walmart jeans fit me great so I go there for those. Food shopping is the best...Whole Foods is a very bad place :)

  11. If I take extra meds I can handle the messy rack stores. Because I am a Virgo and I love a great deal. The only way you can find a great deal is if you dig and the only way I can focus enough and not kill anyone in the process is by taking extra meds. It's a vicious cycle!!

  12. I am sorry to say this but I am a true shopaholic always have been and probably always will be that's how I get a natural high

  13. "I'm calm enough now to articulate what it feels like to be so brilliant that you can't describe it." The mos true thing I have heard in a very long time. Bi-polar is like coming out of the closet. Just a few friends at first ...gauging reactions to move further into the room.

  14. Everything you have written here is so relatable that I'm frightened by it.