Saturday, March 17, 2007

Departments stores

I come across the gift voucher in a hidden pocket in my handbag. [translation = purse] Macy’s. [translation = jolly big department store] It’s the one that I was given for Christmas a couple of years ago. I put it in my bag along with the other one that I received about 4 Christmases ago. [translation = they are forming a protest group due to neglect]

There is nothing there I either need or want to buy. [diagnoses = allergic to shopping] At a pinch I would try and buy something online using the card, anything other than having to physically visit the place in person. [translation = clone! I need you] The reason why I don’t like Macy’s, or any other store [translation = shop] is because, like it’s many competitors, it is a department store. I hate all department stores regardless of what they sell. I am also mindful of new "fashion information from BBC American's 'What not to wear'" which is more than a little worrisome.

It’s the ‘department’ bit that I get stuck on. [translation = categorizing issues] Department stores are scary and confusing, although perhaps that should be the other way around, in that they are confusing and therefore they are scary. [Translation = sequencing and motor planning expert stand up now] I mean it’s not as if you enter the shop with a map in your hand to help you get about. Oh no, you just step inside to a sea of chaos and no map. If you hunt around for a while you might be lucky enough to find a ‘store directory.’ The store directory is hidden in some obscure corner of the shop. In theory it lists the many departments on offer, which floor they are on and in which direction. If you are even luckier, it may also tell you where you are in relation to the offerings available. This is a very important step, because although you’ve just walked into the shop, not gone up steps or down steps, there is no guarantee that you are on the bottom floor. You need one of those important little icons, a red figure with a red arrow that says ‘you are here,’ but only advanced shops do that.

Most of them don’t tell you where you are because they don’t want you to know where you are, and hide where you are going, because it’s all part of their marketing strategy. They let you loose [and lost] in the shop in the hope that you will accidentally see lots of extra things and buy them. They seem to be unaware that some people, such as myself, see nothing of the tempting items because we’re using up too many brain cells on working out where we are, or should be.

And another thing, whilst we’re on the subject, they call the different floors by the wrong name, just to confuse you even further. You walk into the shop and you’re on the ground floor. You know you’re right this time because you were on solid concrete outside, and now you’re inside and there was no ‘under store’ parking, so you’re definitely on solid ground which means that you are on the ‘ground’ floor. That’s why it’s called the ‘ground’ floor because it’s connected to the ground. But no, far too simple, let’s destroy the theory of gravity and stick the ground floor up one level, that will confuse all the foreigners. [translation = aliens]

Then if that isn’t enough, they quite often throw in a mezzanine floor or sometimes two. Two! How can you have two?

Yes, so shopping is a nightmare, and shopping in a department store is a complete horror story. Departments are the main problem here, or more accurately, their inability to put the right thing in the right department. [translation = to name the department to match it’s contents.] I can see that you doubt me. Let’s take an example, a simple example. I am a woman, I wish to purchase clothes, where do I go? You tell me, come on, I dare you? “The women’s department?” Good guess, that’s what I’d have guessed, in fact that’s what I did guess, for many painful years, and it was the wrong guess.

You troll over the ‘women’s apparel’ which I know to mean ‘clothing’ because I am an American and can translate American instantly. Once there I select a few items and because I’m going to be good, as opposed to running out of the shop. [translation = screaming with my purchases.] Instead I go into the changing room, which is called a ‘fitting room’ even though there is no-one there to ‘fit’ you in there. Once you have disrobed, you put the potential new dress over you head and stand back to admire the view. The ‘dress’ is in a ring around your feet. [translation = it slipped straight down to the floor, barely touching anything as it passed.] There is enough room in their for a small family of five. [translation = a commune in a tent] If you look at the size on the label, it means nothing; W1. Presumably ‘W’ means ‘woman’s dress as opposed to a man’s dress. The 1 must stand for the first available size, all others getting progressively larger? It has taken me nearly eight years to work out that being in the women’s department has absolutely nothing to do with being female, well maybe a little bit, but far more importantly ‘woman’ denotes size not sex. Have you ever heard of anything so ludicrous?

This means that in order to buy clothing I need to go to a different department, a department that is not the women’s department. I have a choice; petites, no I’m five foot six and arms that are longer than my legs. Misses? No, even I am not mislead by the marital status issue, I just know that I am old and the ‘misses’ denotes youth. So where do I go?

What I need is a hand held GPS [translation = little device that tells you where you are and where to go] It should have a little area where you can type in what you want to buy such as ‘pants,’ then it could instruct you to go up the escalator [translation = moving staircase] turn right at the top, go past big dresses, past the non fitting room and there you’d be in front of rows and rows of pants, which would be disappointing because the GPS has failed to translate ‘pants’ into ‘knickers.’ There again if you take a few steps more as you head for the lift [translation = elevator] to escape, you might pass through the ‘ladies intimate apparel’ department. [translation = knickers]
Well, actually I do have a minor confession to make in that area, in that I still don’t really know where I’m supposed to be going. Instead I cheat and buy my clothes in Target [translation = Woolworth’s if they still sell clothes or Tesco.] Hey! It’s a coping mechanism that works for me.

1 comment:

Mommy Brain said...

I've seen you comment a couple of times on my blog and wanted to check out your thoughts...glad I did! I do love to shop, but haven't been able to for the past 10 years because of all the kids in tow. I also hate the labels that department stores put on clothes...being 5'9' and not all that slight in stature, I have to buy clothes that are labeled Extra-Large...hate that! I mean if you had a choice to buy clothes labled Extra-Large(as if large wasn't big enough) or Petite what would you choose? Even the lable TALL isn't all that great...but I guess SHORT would be worse. But like I've said they don't call these people short like they are they call them petite.

Have you ever shopped at the Macy's on State Street in about confusing...that store is round of all things, you never know where you are.

Anyway, maybe we can go shopping together someday when all the kiddies are gone and I'll lead you straight to where you want to go...if I can remember where it is.