Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am not a shopping savant

The other day I decided that shopping was necessary. Ordinarily I fight these urges the same way I fight all reminders of responsibility: With beer and whining. This day, however, I wasn't really feeling that great, and also I had been putting off buying bathroom items for a long time and it was starting to bother me, so I figured I'd better bite the bullet and go to the store.

My bathroom items are simple: Toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, shampoo, face lotion, and deodorant. You see, I tried to bury face lotion in that list, but it is impossible to hide my shameful addiction. Sometimes when people say "addiction", they actually mean "I just really like something", but not me - I actually think my face is addicted to the face lotion. If I don't put it on after I shower, my face gets the shakes, cold flashes, and puts in midnight calls to the methadone clinic. Also, it gets kind of dry. Because I am physically attached to my face, I feel it is best to keep my face happy, even if it means being a slave to the God of Lotion and the brand the God of Lotion has chosen for me, Kiehl's Soothing, Nourishing Face Creme For Men.

Unfortunately, lack of appropriate sacrifice has apparently caused the God of Lotion, or Lotionfer as I like to call him, to make it so I can't just walk around the corner to the grocery store to purchase this special addictive face lotion. Instead, I have to go to this annoying outdoor mall called University Village (although I have subsequently been informed I could also get it at Nordstoms. I reckon Hell hath such choices). Why is this outdoor mall so annoying? Here is the exhaustive list:
  1. Getting there is annoying.

  2. Parking is annoying.

  3. I hate it here so why can't I just go home?

So anyway, I sucked it up and went to University Village to buy my stupid face lotion. Fate made me park in such a place as to force me to walk past the GAP that every mall, indoor or otherwise, feels compelled to include. If I owned a mall, like if maybe I won one in a raffle or something, I would totally delete the GAP in favor of something more useful, like a bowling alley. I just kind of scowled at the GAP as I walked past it on my mission to the Kiehl's store. After purchasing my face lotion, however, I guess my disposition had improved to the point where the GAP didn't seem like quite as scary of a place, and hey! Maybe they have some T-shirts that I like or something.

The truth is, I had been looking for some blank, colored T-shirts that fit me well so I could paint my own designs on them for some time. Being that I had nothing better to do anyway, I decided that I would duck inside and quickly check out the T-shirts, and maybe the clearance rack if they had one. I discovered, to my lasting surprise, that GAP-brand medium "athletic fit" colored tees are the perfect size and fit for me! I grabbed three of them off the shelf, and this sweater that I found that I liked, and took them up to the counter. I was making excellent time.

The girl at the counter rang up my purchase and the subtotal came out to something like $63, which I figured was pretty good. I was starting to feel okay about this whole GAP place. The girl looked at me and asked, "Did you know that we're having a sale right now, where if you spend more than $75 dollars you get an instant $15 off?"

I informed her that I was, despite my savvy shopper appearance, not aware of the GAP's current special pricing arrangements, and started doing a little math in my head. "Let's see," I thought, "if I buy something else for $15, it's like I get it for free. I would be stupid not to grab another sweater or something." I left my items at the counter and turned to venture back into the untamed wilderness of the Men's section. As I was walking away, however, the girl held up one of my T-shirts and said "Did you know that this shirt is a 'Classic Fit', and these other two are 'Athletic Fit'?" She held the "Classic Fit" T-shirt out to display its considerable girth, as if asking me if I planned on gaining a bunch of weight anytime soon. Not if being in the GAP doesn't depress me so much I have to go home and eat a gallon of ice cream, GAP girl.

I told her I would swap it out for another, properly sized, T-shirt and departed from Register Town, USA. "Okay", I told myself, "just grab another T-shirt and the first other clothing item that you like, and we'll be out of here in no time."

First I went back to the wall of T-shirts and starting ruffling through all of the carefully folded clothing, looking for a heather gray 'athletic fit' medium shirt. Apparently, thin people are not allowed to don this classic gray color in T-shirt form, because there were none to be found. So now I had a tough choice of a third color: Dark brown, or this other dark brown. Hmm. I agonized over this decision for a good half an hour, asking passerby for their opinions, holding each up in different mirrors, cursing the difficulty of finding dark colors that complement my fair skin. Finally, I decided on dark brown #1.

At this point, I started experiencing what I like to call "shopper's trance". I was no longer capable of making decisions, I felt the need to check every tag even though I had already found my size, and I started humming along with the music that was playing. I shuffled, slowly, over to the sweater section, and began tugging witlessly at the clothing on the rack. If normal Grant is a horrible shopper, Zombie Grant is even worse. Finally (and I mean *finally*), I decided on another sweater, and took my new items up to the counter.

I put on a big, dopey grin and handed my clothing to the girl who had helped me before.

"Wow, took you long enough", she said, I guess as a joke.

"Yeah," I said, but really I was thinking, "must eat braaaiiinns".

She rang up my five items, and the subtotal came out to $61. I stared at the little screen for a minute until I could formulate some non-grunt words. "How did my clothes get cheaper?" I finally managed.

"Well, before you had two of one kind of T-shirt and one of another. We have this sale where if you buy three T-shirts (regularly $16.50), you get them for $12! Now that you have three of the same, it made your total less," she spat excitedly with a giant training-video grin.

"But that sweater is $20."

"No, actually it's $10", she said. I thought maybe she was going to tell me of this other sale that the GAP was having where everything you buy makes you have to buy more crap, but she just stood there smiling and blinking, so I turned from my pile yet again.

Having silently vowed to never look upon that cursed sweater rack again, and being pretty well stocked in that area by now anyway, I decided to check out the wall of jeans. Surely I could spend $15 here, I thought. I started pawing through the tightly packed cubby-holes looking for inspiration in this distressed, boot-cut world, but at this point my energy levels were getting dangerously low. If I was a video game character in a game where you are, uh, shopping or something, my "health" meter would be flashing red.

I grabbed a pair of jeans from the top cubby hole and tried to yank it out so I could inspect the quality of the cut and design in relationship to my body type in front of the nearest mirror, but the jeans were so tightly stuffed that I ended up spilling a half dozen pairs on the floor. I tried to wedge them all back into their compartment, but I am not GAP-trained in the ancient art of clothes-compression, so I figured I would just leave a couple of pairs on top of the shelves.

As in the classic movie "Goonies", so too is the GAP absolutely riddled with booby-traps. As I was lazily sliding my unwanted jeans onto the top of the cubby-hole wall, I disturbed a Plexiglas sign that was just kind of hanging there, informing me of my various fit options, so that it slipped from the shelf and crashed to the ground. I quickly bent down to inspect my destruction and to clean it up before I got in trouble, but failed to notice that in my haste to attend to the shattered Plexiglas I had also disturbed a much larger element of the display. Leaning against the wall, on the top shelf of the wall-o-jeans, were a dozen or so giant cardboard cutouts of stylistic silhouettes that donned actual GAP jeans and sweaters. I feel that cardboard was a poor material choice for such an application, since the weight of the clothing made the displays top-heavy and imbalanced. As I had pushed the jeans onto the shelf, I had unknowingly pushed the bottom of one such cutout too close to the wall, disrupting its precarious balance. I noticed this when, as I was hastily trying to scrape the bits of the other display I had ruined under the nearest clothing rack, all light was suddenly blotted out by the tumbling but well-coordinated cardboard model.

I threw my arms up just in time to catch the display, but the cardboard bent and tore as it hit my hands, and we collapsed together in a pile of distressed jeans and tasteful sweater/undershirt combinations. Good thing no one saw that....oh wait, that GAP dude has been watching this whole time.

We both apologized profusely, even though we both knew that it was entirely my fault and that I probably shouldn't be allowed to walk around unsupervised in public. He then stiffly asked if I needed help finding anything, but I declined, because I decided I really didn't want any of those stupid jeans anyway. I grabbed a thermal undershirt as I awkwardly escaped my wreckage, and quickly made my way to the counter....again.

That stupid undershirt turned out to be $10, so I was still $4 short of spending the same amount of money I would have an hour ago. I smiled at the GAP girl, thinking that maybe she would find my incompetence endearing, but she shot me a look that plainly said "You are the worst shopper I have ever seen. Also, you need a haircut."

I looked around at the counter for some stuff I could use to make my $75 quota, but I would have had to buy, like, 5 chapsticks, and I don't really use chapstick anyway. I gazed back into the Men's section, looking for inspiration and discovered that GAP dude had called in another GAP dude to help him clean up my mess. I looked around a little more and my eyes fell upon the socks and underwear section. Ha! Who couldn't use more socks?! I jogged over to the socks and grabbed heedlessly the first pair I could touch, as I was turning to bolt back, however, I noticed that there are two different types of socks - ones that cost $3 and ones that cost $5. I wasn't sure which one my lucky victim was, so I had to grab another pair just to be sure.

I took my socks to the counter and the girl scanned them. As she scanned the second pair, she turned to me with a smile. "We have a sale where if you buy two pairs of socks (regularly $3), you get both for $5!"

I almost had a heart attack, thinking that I would have to buy more socks, or maybe some gloves or something, but it finally settled in that I had done it! I had won! $76!! As the second pair was registered by the scanner, the total dropped to $61, $66ish with tax, and I heaved a sigh of relief.

"Aren't you glad that we are having this sale? Look at all this other stuff you got for the same price!" The girl beamed.


Well, one positive thing that I gained from my ill-advised GAP trip was that I was reminded of this awesome video! Ha ha ha ha ha!

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I have no idea why I am reading this now, for the second time, and laughing my head off. However, I am doing so instead of going to sleep and it is very late so clearly you have done a good job and such. Good night.