I have my blog installed on my phone, which should lend itself to drafting my thoughts when they are still fresh, but unfortunately the power manager shuts the blog down without saving anything so its less than ideal. I have now taken to emailing myself little memory jogs for the next post but I appear to be struggling to collate all of the individual emails in my inbox hence the delay in posting Friday’s shopping experience, well better late than never.
Fridays, as most of you know, involve a return through Stratford where I will have up to 30 minutes to fill depending on how efficient the staff train was from the depot. I could get closer to my destination and lose time there but at Stratford there is a large, dry, warm shopping centre so it wins hands down as long as the train service is not disrupted. This Friday there were two items on my shopping list, I grabbed some deodorant from Superdrug and a hoody from JD sports, checked my watch and still 20 minutes until my train so I started the aimless walk around the shops. Not being female I am not programmed to window shop, I really can’t lose time like that, shopping is a task and not an experience. In a shopping centre with no purpose l resort to charging around without any direction, the only thing going for it is the exercise rather like an oversized hamster wheel.
On one of my laps I found myself outside Victoria’s Secrets with a rather enticing storefront, now I have not used this store before but its a common feature in US novels so I guess it wasn’t really a secret but hey it said so on the sign. As I wandered through rails of underwear I was writing a review in my mind, there was no reason for this its just something that I do when I have no other purpose in a store, and noting that some of the items were rather boring but then if your brand of choice is Sloggi I guess it doesn’t take too much to be provocative. I leave one earphone from my iPod in while I am shopping, partly because it means I don’t lose them in my shirt and secondly because it deters some of the less determined hawkers selling Sky TV, but this sales assistant approached from the other side:
Sales Assistant – “Can I be of any assistance sir?”
Me – “No I don’t think so thank you”
SA – “Do you know your partners sizes?”
Me – “No I am single actually”
SA – “Erm, oh sorry its just that… Well is it a gift that your looking for”
Me – “Nope”
SA – now looking rather nervous, backing away and trying to size me up “We do stock some less common sizes”
Me – “Well that’s good to know should I ever meet any less commonly sized women”
At this point she turned tail and fled although I am sure that her ‘odd customer’ was the source of much discussion over coffee later. For reference, if any sales trainers are reading this, there is no need to apologise to me for the fact that I am single it is not your fault, and the fact that I am male does not preclude me from browsing female clothing.
To finish my mental review I would say that there is a good range, its overpriced but you expect that with the brand and to be honest there was no secret, I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know.
As I was writing this all the old jokes about sizing your partners breasts by comparison to the assistants came to mind, you know the ones about trying to buy a bra whose cup size is ‘about a handful’, and it occurred to me that one of the benefits of sisters is that I have never been shy about shopping for women and its afforded me some fun over the years. When I was called upon to visit Ann Summers* some years ago I obviously combined it with another task, taking my young son to the cinema, and was quite astonished when they asked me to leave the store. The toy section is discretely placed and not immediately obvious, I don’t believe that seeing underwear was going to corrupt my son so I really don’t think that it was wrong to take him in there in fact I think it was funny when he pointed at the chocolate genitals and asked for chocolate. Perhaps its the secret thing again, when wifey is buying provocative clothes she doesn’t want to be reminded that she is also mummy? Women’s minds eh, go figure.
On a visit to collect my son a few years back I had been asked by my then girlfriend to purchase some tampons, not an unreasonable request but one that requires more information than I had. My son and I located the appropriate area in the store and the. Realised we were in women’s world, its like trying to chose a paint sample, different brands, styles, sizes and even scents how in the hell do you chose? Did I need ones with skirts, what benefit that produces I have no idea I thought skirts were an outer garment, ones with pearls? I fail to see what a pearl can do in terms of absorption it really is all designed to confuse and confound. So I called the girlfriend “do you want small, medium or super soaker? With pearls or without? With a gun or self applied?” Before answering she asked where I was to which I replied, fairly obviously, that I was in the store she screamed that I can’t talk about that in public and put the phone down on me.
My son and I were discussing our predicament when a sales assistant asked if she could help, oh yes I said thank you for offering ‘I am horribly confused and my girlfriend won’t answer the phone now she is about your size but about 5 years older than you with longer hair that is dyed black, I am guessing that your about the same size so which tampons do you use and I will get the same for her’
I don’t know whether it was seeing a grown man and an 11 year old looking her up and down, comparing her with the girlfriend and keenly awaiting the answer or whether there is some sort of female code that prevents them speaking on the subject, or perhaps she couldn’t remember without checking the tag, but she fled. So it was, with such an absence of support, that I had to purchase one of every size in 2 brands in the comfort of home this made for much hilarity and I believe I kept several women in tampons for some time, but really couldn’t they just put age or weight on the box?
*for those not in the UK this is a hideously overpriced store that stocks poor quality clothing and sex toys but has an extremely popular party sales plan