Monday, December 24, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Mall

I don’t venture out into the world of retail all that often.  I spend most of my money on books, music, travel, cars and fine wine.  These are things that are generally unavailable at any brick and mortar store anymore.  I just don't have a reason to go there very often.  I don't know the Mall Culture very well.  The Mall is a place where I am immediately spotted by retail clerks as an outsider.  I think I might be that creepy guy that freaks out the female employees as a potentially dangerous sociopath.  Sometimes it is like I am a caveman that has never encountered a sweater on a table before.  “Sir?  Can I help you?  Sir?  Do you understand what I am saying?”  Grunt.  Mongo no find size on sweater.  Mongo no understand. 

It is generally awkward for both of us.  I usually feel as if I am the subject of discussions when I walk out of most of these stores.  There are probably slang terms used by high school girls that I don’t even know that I am branded with every time I walk in.  When I answer the “Welcome to The Store.  Can I help you with anything?” question with some smart comment or light conversation, I usually get the “What the fuck are you talking about?” look.  You have to dumb down the vocabulary if you want to have even basic conversation at The Gap.  It’s like going to Dresden and trying to order a cup of tea at the train station.  Stick to the basics. 

People are excited at the Mall.  I’m not just talking about over stimulated preteen girls either.  Moms and Gal Pals are swaggering around in their special yoga pants holding their lattes eyeing every piece of merchandise.  It’s a lifestyle choice.  It’s a world that recognizes me as someone that doesn’t belong.  I just don’t get it.  There are a variety of stores I do not understand at most retail shopping malls.  These include: 

Yankee Candle:  Unless you are a complete moron, you would have to understand that if a store has to pay for the most expensive rent available for a retail store, they are going to be passing along that cost to the customer.  How much are candles in that place?  $20 per?  If you buy those, do guests come over and say “Wow!  Look at the way that fucking candle is burning!  That puts the $1.99 candle I bought at the grocery store to shame!  I feel like this is the first time I have ever really seen a candle!  It’s like I am seeing through the eyes of a child!  Incredible!  What a motherfucker of a candle!” 

Abercrombie and Fitch:  What is that whorehouse perfume they are blowing out of that joint?  Do they sell overpriced clothes to teenagers and also offer “around the world” service with Vietnamese prostitutes?  When I smell that perfume I think about having a visit to a clinic where a disapproving physician is looking at a scabby sore on the tip of my penis and saying things like “In all my years in medicine, I have never seen anything like this.” and “When we burn that off, you will feel a great deal of discomfort, probably unlike anything you can even imagine.  Here.  Bite down on this stick.” 

Apple Store:  I assume everyone in that store already owns an Apple computer.  After you purchase that product, what is it exactly that makes you hang out in the store?  You already bought it.  What do you need now?  An extra power cord?  Friends?  Why is everyone walking around that place like they are doing really important shit?  The only things that people post on the Internet are videos of their cat and pornography.  If you need extra equipment for either of these pursuits, you don’t need it from Apple.  Go home.  And stop walking around in that ironic winter knit cap inside.  You are making me sweaty just looking at you. 

Radio Shack:  What are they doing with all that information they want to take from me so I can buy a $2.29 cord for my TV?  You have to give less information at the DMV when you register a car.  You can tell everyone gives those clerks shit about it because they are always so sheepish about asking you.  I always feel very sad when I go to Radio Shack and I don’t know why.  I go to great lengths to avoid walking into that Shit Shack.

Clark’s Shoes:  This is a great store to punch up your wardrobe if you previously wore orthopedic shoes or banged around in Frankenstein boots.  I look around at all the Gal Pals in their riding boots.  Then I look at the functional shoes in this store and wonder, “How do you make enough to pay the rent selling shoes no one wears?”.  If I was in a horrible accident and was left with one leg longer than the other, this is the first place I would go looking for a special shoe with the extra rubber to equal me out.  When you have a really fucked up leg, no one would care about what kind of shoes you have on, would they?  Have you ever said, “Man, that guy on the crutches has some bad ass Bruno Magli shoes on!”? 

New Balance:  This is similar to Clark’s but in the area of athletic shoes.  I wear New Balance, only because the last time I wore Nike running shoes my feet fell apart like braised short ribs.  I got plantar fasciitis so bad I felt like flying over to whatever Asian country Nike has kids at gunpoint making these shoes and shooting one myself as “an example” to the others.  After I got over the foot ailment, I realized this was extreme thinking, so I just bought these ugly ass New Balance shoes instead.  They work really well.  No one else I have ever seen wears them though.  Why would they?  They have a giant ugly “N” on them.  How do these guys make payroll?  Has Nike fucked up that many people’s feet?  

Hollister/American Eagle:  As far as I know this is the same store as Abercrombie & Fitch.  I would imagine that at high school there is a clear dividing line of which store is most preferential.  There is some kid right now feeling self conscious because he is wearing a Hollister shirt instead of whatever the cool one is at the moment.  He probably will try to mock another kid wearing Old Navy to get the focus off of him.  I don’t really need to know how that shakes out.  I’m a man in my forties.  I don’t need to be going in there unless I am buying a gift for a teenager or abducting a young female clerk.  In either case, it’s probably an event that I will regret getting involved in.  I’m just staying out of there.

Urban Outfitters:  There are a lot of ironic poseur hipsters working in there that could really use a firm talking to in that joint.  I don’t like the way they look at me as I look at the cheap “nod n’ wink” merchandise.  Look you little pussies, I had all this shit the first time around in the 1970s.  It was lame then, and it’s lame now.  Wipe that smug little look off your face and let me pay for my Pac-Man thermos, OK?  Go home and listen to your Of Montreal records and pretend David Bowie never happened.  Go get a job at a campus coffee bar where you belong, ya fuck. 

Talbot’s/Coldwater Creek:  These appear to be stores that cater to women that know how to tastefully decorate their homes with perfectly placed accent pieces, that can wrap a gift that looks like art, and instinctively know how long to baste a turkey.  These are women that measure me up with a quick glance and know what a child I am.  These are grown ups that I have little in common with except in some cases age.  If you go to your high school reunions, you will notice some old people in tasteful boring clothes that you don’t recognize.  They will turn out to be your classmates, except they look and act 30 years older than you.  I think these are the stores where their wives secure their get-ups. 

Sunglass Hut:  Is it just me, or would you also prefer if Sunglass Hut was actually inside of a tiki hut?  It would be more exciting buying sunglasses in an exotic atmosphere like that instead of having a bored twenty year old judgementally open up cases for you to try on glasses that make you look terrible.  This is a store that confirms I have a gigantic horribly misshapen head.  If there are 200 pair of overpriced sunglasses in that store, there are only 4 that don’t make me look like David Crosby.  I go in there once a year to feel badly about my appearance.  Then I buy the same basic sunglasses I always buy. 

When you don’t belong someplace, you have to limit your exposure.  I approach it like a guerrilla raid.  Get in, inflict maximum damage, and get out.  Let the sly smiling women in tights and boots allow you into their world briefly with the understanding you will leave them to their spoils.  They are the professionals.  Don’t question it.  You are but an amateur without a plan or purpose.     


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