The Psyche of a Shopper
Get in my brain, therapist, we’re going shopping.
I back out of the store because I’m holding an iced coffee and apparently that’s not allowed inside. Either someone once went Buckingham Palace with pasta sauce and a slingshot near the all-white section so now they’re paranoid, or, this store wants me slightly dehydrated so that I make delirious purchases.
I re-enter the store. My retail strategy is like reading a magazine: I work right to left, starting counterclockwise at the 6 o’clock mark. Once my path is mapped my focus begins. I’m eyeing the jeans first because we came here today to buy pants.
The jeans are always in a stupid pile at this store. My rifling begins cautiously, looking for my size with patience and determination. By the fourth pair I’ve gone rogue, and the pile is a mess and a sales person hates me and there are four different sized-jeans slung over my shoulder like I’m a fireman carrying a hose. The problem is that I could be a 26, I could be a 27, but I don’t understand these annoying sizing conversions and ALSO — I was distracted by a different style.
That come in a different wash.
So now I’m looking around for a small donkey to help carry my loot while realizing that these jeans are going to require some very specific tops.
Which I don’t own. How do I not own one semi-cropped camisole with dainty straps to pair with these jeans that I came here determined to buy? Leandra might have one…actually she definitely does…I wonder if she’d let me borrow it.
Ok this means I need to buy one now. Actually, maybe two. I’m thinking two because what if I also ruin one during taco night and then want to wear these jeans that I haven’t tried on yet but will probably fall in love with, which REQUIRE this top to pair with, remember?
So now I’m pushing through the racks and dropping maybe like, every third shirt on the floor because no store has figured out that there are hangers with GRIPS. By the tenth dropped shirt I give up trying to put these buttheads back on their dumb slip-n-slides and instead load them all on to my donkey which miraculously just appeared. JK, it didn’t. It’s just me hauling ass, looking like a one-woman-looter at a Talbots free-for-all.
As I’m shuffling to the dressing room I catch dresses in my peripheral vision. “I’ll come back for you, I promise,” I whisper. It’s eyes on the prize until I realize how long the dressing room line is, and so instead I search for a spot where I won’t get caught taking my pants off in public.
Pants are off — and I’m caught. I distract the salesperson by pointing out that someone’s stealing a left shoe.
I’m alone again. Just me and eight billion customers and these jeans that I’m shimmying into. They fit. Holy shit they fit…that means I have to buy them, because that’s a sign. But I don’t have to try on the tops, right? No no…I can always return. But I do have to edit: 10 tops are a bit much, and the fact alone that I’ve said “top” this many times in the last minute is alarming.
Now I’m walking toward the cash register and it hits me — SHOES. Literally, a pair comes flying at my head and figuratively, a pair appears in a thought bubble: “I don’t have shoes that go with this outfit.”
I consider the time it will take to find a matching pair of the style of shoe I like in the correct size versus the length of the line I am on. These are the types of math problems the SATs should be asking rather than, “If a train leaves North Dakota at 5 PM what’s the square root of ‘you failed’?”
The line moves. Oh look, clutches!
Amelia. No. No clutches.
I’m now at the cash register. I hand over two pairs of jeans, three tops (shut up), a pair of sandals (weird! how did those get in there?!) and someone’s child. I return the child. The saleswoman rings me up.
I forgot my wallet.
I probably didn’t need that stuff anyway.
Photo cred: Top image shot by Mikael Jansson for Interview Magazine, bottom via Popsugar, both captioned with our own freaky words