We went clothes shopping the other night. In the past those words would have come out of my mouth with much enthusiasm and excitement. Today......here.......they are said in the same tone that you would say that you got a flu shot. I am not kidding. Nix the excitable tone and enthusiasm. You are just stating that you did something necessary but not necessarily enjoyable. Let's just say for someone who has never had headaches, I always have a headache when I leave the malls here. Always. Why you ask? Let me explain mall shopping here to you.
First, you arrive to the mall and if it is the weekend you are guaranteed there will be some spectacular event being held in the center, maybe a fashion show, a battle of the Asian pop bands (talk about a photo op, man was I sorry my camera died) or some other reason they can have for blasting music at mind numbing levels. For a relatively quiet people, they like really loud music. Really. Loud. Music. I am not kidding.
At the mall you have the larger department store option (only one, the same one, in all the malls) or the smaller chain stores and independent shops. When you enter you are literally rocked back on your heels at how loud their music is playing. I am not kidding. In many of the stores tonight we could not hear each other, even though we were shouting. I am not kidding. The next issue with the loud music is that it is American music...more often than not it is the worst kind of American music. There are no filters on the language. In fact, I heard more of the worst kinds of curse words (at concert level decibels) tonight than I have heard since my days as a sailor (okay...I have never been a sailor, but you get the idea) This happened while we were in all variety of stores, even a little teeny bopper Claire's type store. Yikes, it was bad, every song was raunchy, and with it blasting the hair off your scalp there are no missing the words! UGH!! The sad thing was, that I was painfully aware that this was my culture that they were welcoming into their culture. For all the talk, there is a definite "wanna be" aspect over here. I hate that this is what they take from our part of the planet. It was a bit heart breaking.
Next, you enter a store to shop and quickly realize that there are 10 employees for every one customer. I am not kidding. They are blocking the aisles, many times they don't move, you have to maneuver around them. Once you stop to look at something, or express minor interest, someone is by your side. By your side means standing in your personal space looking you eye to eye saying "Silikan" (like..."Please look") and they don't leave you. They. Don't. Leave. You. As you rummage through a rack they immediately straighten everything you touch as soon as your fingers leave it. I am not kidding. Coming from someone who once worked retail....I would have been fired for doing what they do! I try to smile and adjust but many times I just end up leaving because it drives me crazy. I am very much a shopper who just wants to look and decide and I will ask you if I need help, and I was an employee who offered that same freedom to my customers. Their approach is so opposite of that, that I really have to make myself shop over here, and only do it when necessary. And since all my children eat and therefore feel like they have to grow, it has become something I can no longer put off.
Lastly, a word on skinny jeans. Are you ready......."Just say no." It is that simple, really. It use to apply to Drugs but now it applies to skinny jeans too! Are they still popular in the States? The reason I ask is because I think I now live in "skinny jean heaven". I am not kidding. All skinny jeans come here when they die. I. Do. Not. Like. Skinny. Jeans. There, I said it. I think they don't look good on or flatter anyone. If you are skinny your legs look like twigs and if you are big you look like you are trying too hard to be skinny. I am not kidding. Oh my, I have so much to say about skinny jeans here, especially in this context, but for fear of offending I will hold my tongue...er pen, as it were. I mention this because shopping for jeans here is a zoo trying to find jeans that are not skinny, be it for male or female. Ugh, all I need is for Marshall to wear jeans that make him look like he has a muffin top oozing out the top with a smashed bottom and then have two skis (feet) protruding from the bottom hem. How's that for a mental picture!! LOL
*Disclaimer: If you own and love to wear skinny jeans, I still love you and promise to pray for you to see the error of your ways and repent from this fashion disaster! LOL
So there you have it. My shopping nightmare in a not so small nutshell. I'll leave you with this little incident ~ I left the boys in the men's department to go look with the girls, as I made my way back to the boys I was searching to see which section they were in. A man stops me and says, "Justin Beiber is over there." When I look in the direction he is pointing, I see Marshall. As I laugh and say thank you the man smiles and walks away. I am not kidding. :)