When did shopping turn into such a gauntlet?
I’ve never been a huge shopping fan, but recent experiences have confirmed to me that I actually HATE it.
I hate, hate, hatey McHaterson it.
Last week I was lucky enough to have a few hours to wander around huge shopping centres in both Dublin and Belfast.
Imagine the novelty for Mammy-Amazon here, whose clothes shopping generally consists of sportsgear or the odd binge buy in Dunnes-of-the-fablis, (usually on pay day before the Direct Debit Bandits have hit and I descend back into brokedom.)
“I am in the city. I shall shop”, think I.
“I shall shop like the Fashionable Bloggers do. I shall purchase cool and quirky stuffs which I might even share by doing one of those terrifying Haul things that they all do.”
But then, I laugh at the sillyfullness of such a thought. Who wants to see what Mammy picks up in shops?
In go I to the Debbienems… the mothership of mothershops in all corners of the civilised world.
My eyes hurt instantly. The lights…Christ alive! Am I in surgery or a shop?
The evil yellow glare lights used to be only reserved for changing rooms and hairdressers. Now it seems that they are par-for-the-course in every corner on every floor of these big bright shops… perhaps a way to highlight the few of us who still dare to enter such establishments with nout but mascara on our faces?
I catch a glimpse of my naked face and tracksuit in one of the mirrors and I feel instantly less confident in my own skin than I did leaving the hotel.
I thought I looked rather comfy-chic. I thought my swinging pony tail and make up free skin made me look slightly Yummy-Mummiful…
Turns out that even in my spensive leeeeezure wear, I actually look like a knackered, sleep-deprived, hungover SkankQueen. I’d look more at home on Jeremy Kyle’s sofa truth be told.
I am now convinced that I look like I’m about to shop lift the entire contents of the Benefit counter and I’m pretty sure that the shop assistants (perfectly preened and practically perfect in every way) are clustering closer to me as their Radar for criminal cretins goes off. They’re watching me. I know they are.
Then I realize, they want to torment me. On every corner, another eyebrow asks me “Can I help you Dear?” or “Do you need any help today Luv?” It’s like being at home. There’s a little person on every corner talking AT me and asking me pointless questions. One even shoves a little pink basket in my hand, for heaven forbid I might only want ONE THING in the muck up section. I know they’re only doing their job but Dear Jacinta, I just want to BROWSE!
Remember when you used to be able to wander aimlessly around the shops, browsing, looking, buying…not buying?
Remember when you could go to the checkout and simply pay for your purchase with nothing more than a polite smile and a thank you?
And then you could leave, swinging the bag with your purchase and simply continue on your shopping…or not shopping?
Yeah. Those days are gone my Darlings.
And then…the WEIRDEST part. It’s been creeping in to the shops at home too. It makes me uncomfortable. I find it a little invasive if I’m honest.
“Do you have an email address?”
“I do yeah.”
“Can I have it?”
“So I can send you your receipt? Because of the environment and all?”
“Oh of course…” is what I SAY, before rhyming off the suddenly very hard to fecking spell email address. (Seriously, none of us EVER considered that we’d be standing at tills in Debbieneems spelling OUT the feckin things when we created them. We thought they’d always be, well, TYPED!)
What I want to say is “And what about GDPR? How can I be sure that YOU are not the reason that I get so many weird marketing emails from companies to which I’m pretty sure I NEVER subscribed? Can you not just print me off my receipt like a normal shop assistant so I can throw it into the bag or the car where it will lay for many months creating a tiny thesis of how and why I am always broke, Little physical REMINDERS of what money USED to look like.”
I swear to Granny, between Tap machines and Virtual receipts, I don’t even think it COUNTS as spending money any more. There is NO evidence really…
And so I decide that I shall set up a NEW email address, just for the very PURPOSE of shopping. It shall be firstname.lastname@example.org That’d be fun…
Moral of the story?
I HATE SHOPPING.
(I’m glad my laptop doesn’t yet have eyebrows to raise.