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?