Monday, July 16, 2007

LA is so weird

I went to one of our outdoor malls today to pick up some necessary items. (I don't like malls, but on weekdays they're a little less oppressive to me.)

And here is my rant about shopping.

I hate it. Really. You'd never know it from how I go on and on about this purchase from Purl and that purchase from my local yarn store. But grown-up shopping? You know, shopping for clothes and housewares and, well, clothes. Not for me.

I get overwhelmed by who I'm giving my money to, what their labor practices are, what the company is doing to/for our culture. I get creeped out by synergy, promotions, and sales. There's always a sense that I've been demographed (not even a word, I'm sure) and profiled so that they know they've got me right where they want me. It's anxiety-provoking at a minimum. Nervous breakdown-inducing at a maximum.

But sometimes a girl's gotta buy new drawers.

In negotiating the tension between trying to be ethical and trying to save my sanity, sometimes I just go with what's easy (See? They've got me right where they want me.). One of those easy things is shopping at a fancy outdoor mall that has a huge fountain, and valet parking, and a mess of corporations in the form of stores. I don't park in valet parking (it's like $20 or some shit). And I try to get in and out as quickly as possible.

I won't bore you with the details of my shopping trip, but I will tell you that one place tried to "give" me a stuffed dog with my underwear purchase. And by "give" I mean spontaneously put it in my bag, tell me it's free, then try to charge me $10 for it. After I told the cashier that I didn't want the dog, she tossed it over her shoulder into a giant bin. A giant bin full of these dogs. I was obviously not the first person who was unable to figure out why someone would need or want a stuffed dog with her underwear purchase.

Anyway, the whole point of my story is that at this mall, if you spend over a certain amount of money, you get a voucher for free parking. This includes valet parking. A $20 value! In order to get the voucher, you must take your receipts to the Concierge (Yup. We've got a concierge at our mall. Suck it, Orange Julius.) who will then tally and stamp them and give you the parking voucher. Today I spent the requisite amount, so I patiently stood in line awaiting my turn.

After the man who needed to cash some traveler's checks was finished, I stepped up to the counter.

Concierge: Good afternoon. Could I have your phone number, please?
Me: [phone number]
Concierge [types into computer]: Are you still at [work address]?
My inside voice: They're demographing me right now.
My outside voice: Yes.
Concierge: OK. [stamps my receipts with fancy mall logo] Here you are, Dr. B.. Your receipts, your parking, and your free Hairspray soundtrack. Have a great day.

Ha HA! You know what goes perfectly with a parking voucher? A Hairspray soundtrack. Unexpected. Unsolicited. Unrelated to anything having to do with anything.

The marketing dude who came up with doggies for undies was obviously on a roll. Valets and musicals! What will he think of next?


jane said...

Oh my goodness, have you HEARD the music from Hairspray? It is great! I am using some of it in my dinner theatre this year! You Can't Stop the Beat and Popular and the BEST!!

tiennie said...

You are so funny! My best friend thinks the same way you do and will always give fake numbers so she is not demographed.

Nano said...

Ugh! Can't stand mall shopping or any of that. But I will go to the Grove/ Farmers Market, if I have to. And why did they remake Hairspray, anyway?

Nora said...

Gee, and I thought it was weird when the cashier at Ikea asked for my postcode...

Shopping centres with valet parking??? I'm on the first plane over!

Kniterella said...

why can't they ever give away 'free' yarn samples? If their demographics worked right, they would know thats all we want.

kim said...

When I am asked for demographic information, I smile sweetly and say, "No thank you." This usually dumbfounds the salesperson (which, coincidentally, makes it all the more fun for me!). A girl has to entertain herself, right?

Jean said...

And have you noticed that the requisite amount to get the free parking has gone up? And the price for general parking has gone up, too. Even if you have validation. Which, by the way, you can no longer obtain for yourself at B&N. You have to stand in line and buy something or show them your receipt for the coffee you bought upstairs and you're still holding in your hand! However, it's still better than Century City. Don't even get me started on parking/validation over at that place! I get that creepy demographed feeling everytime I swipe my Vons/Ralphs/CVS card.

Kristy said...

I am behind on my reading but I have to comment. I hate shopping as much as you do for a myriad of reasons. I particularly loathe clothes shopping and the 'club' cards, i.e. Safeway, etc.

I am thankful all over again that I do not live where I have to pay to park at the mall.