Just my opinion, but shopping ranks right up there with passing a kidney stone - the former I experienced on a grand scale last week, the latter, I am experiencing on a grand scale right now.
As unpleasant as kidney stones are (if you've never had one, imagine a Great Dane sitting on your belly and not moving for days) walking around a grocery store or, worse yet, a mall, isn't exactly a picnic, either.
At least I can take Vicodin for my kidney stone.
But hitting the mall is exactly what I did last week for my daughter's 10th birthday. It was part of her birthday present - next time I'll do something less taxing and less stressful and just buy her a car.
But through all the lovely misery, the shopping sojourn turned out to be somewhat of a learning experience.
I learned that beneath the pretty pink exterior of Bath & Body Works lurks an all-out attack on one's olfactory senses. Seriously ladies, how can you stand to be in that store for more than 10 minutes at a time?
Talk about overwhelming. And to top it off, they had an employee attacking customers with spray bottles as they entered the store.
From lotions, to soaps, to sprays and candles, it's a wonder I can still smell everyday objects. Of course, Olivia was compelled to sample just about every item in the place (they even have a hand-washing station) and the aroma of Sassy Strawberry still lingers in my truck to this day. It's like a wine tasting event for your nose, this place. Come to think of it, I recall leaving the store with a pretty decent buzz.
I learned that kids today have way too many choices. Retailers have taken the simple task of buying a pair of jeans and have turned it into a complex system of covering a kid's legs. Forget name brands, the number of styles out there alone is mind-boggling. There's no-pocket jeans, traditional five-pocket, stitched round-pocket, zippered-pocket, seamed, diagonal-pocket, Classic Fit, Western Fit, Loose Fit, Relaxed Fit, Baggy, Tight - or as some prefer - Skinny Jeans, (deep breath) Natural Fit, Flared, BootCut, Tapered, Tight, Capri, Stove Pipe, Cropped, Gaucho, Cuffed.
When I was a kid we had two choices: blue or bluer.
Does all this customizing of something as simple as a pair of jeans really benefit a 10-year-old girl?
I learned the stereotype of Asians or Asian-Americans perfecting the art of painting fingernails is dead-on. I got the chance to explore the issue when Olivia asked if she could get her nails professionally done. Of course I said yes. I was as intrigued as she was excited about having someone do her nails. The woman who turned my daughter's nails into 10 little pieces of art didn't exactly have a real grasp of our language, but she knew enough English to communicate with a little girl on the topic of nail coloring and the importance of taking care of them.
As much as I loathe playing tourist in a mall I am gratified my daughter didn't take advantage of me, or my checkbook. During one point in our exploration, she even suggested we sit down on a bench for a while - a little shot of sympathy, perhaps? Lucky for her, she was able to get me up again before I hit REM sleep to continue our spree.
Too bad there wasn't a bench at Claire's.