Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Picture it.

2018.  Applebee’s in the mall.

My girlfriend has forgotten her reading glasses.  This is nothing new.

But as I looked out across the mall from the restaurant window, I spied with my little eye a Hallmark store.  Surely they have reading glasses.  You can get them for a couple of bucks at the Dollar Store.  Most pharmacies.  Wal-Mart.  The list goes on.

We were still waiting for another couple so I opined, “I wonder if the Hallmark store would have reading glasses?”

The granddaughter of another couple dining with us assured me that they do.

I asked my girlfriend, “Do you want me to get you some glasses?  Or should I read you the menu?”

So I was off for glasses!


I entered the Hallmark Store.  I was slightly distracted by a display of Penn State paraphernalia, but I resisted the urge to buy something blue and white which is not used for reading and instead headed directly to the clerk behind the cash register.

“Do you sell reading glasses?”

She informed me they do not.  She was sorry.  (Didn’t look sorry if you ask me.) But apparently life sucks sometimes.

Now it just so happens that there is a Lens Crafters optical shop next door.  As an eye surgeon who owns his own optical dispensary, I had a vague anxiety about entering this establishment.  I feared a patient of mine would see me and then wonder why I was shopping for glasses at a competitor’s store.

But my alternative is to return to Applebee’s defeated and without the glasses.  I would not be defeated!

Len Crafters does not sell over-the-counter reading glasses.  Even our optical shop sells OTC cheater readers.

I exited the store dejected.  I tried to sort through my options, but I kept thinking of that Penn State stuff I saw in Hallmark.  I could drive home, which is closer than driving to my optical shop.  That just smelled of loser right there.

I looked up and saw Sears.  Could they?  Would they?

A clerk sent me to Sears Optical.  They don’t sell them either!

“Why not,” I asked incredulously.

“Because you can buy them at any pharmacy, or Target.”

Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do.  Let’s just leave the fate of the presbyopic world to the Targets and Wal-Marts.

As I turned away in defeat, a thought occurred to me.  Maybe a bookstore would have reading glasses.  “Is there a bookstore that might sell reading glasses?”

Her eyes lit up.  “Yes.  Barnes & Noble’s has them.”

Now gentle reader, I fully know you don’t know where I am–other than a Sears Optical which could be located in any mall anywhere.  So let me enlighten you.  This mall does not have a Barnes & Noble.  The mall across town closer to my office has a Barnes & Noble.

Trying desperately not to strangle this woman, I asked through clenched teeth, “Is there any bookstore in THIS mall?”

She thinks for a moment.  “There’s a Walden Books.  Here on the first floor.  But I don’t know if they are still in business.”

I am defeated.  Just for the record, the First National Bank besides Sears doesn’t sell reading glasses either.

I walk the walk of shame back towards Applebee’s with no glasses in hand when the granddaughter catches up with me.  Apparently they were all watching as I went from store to store.

“Why didn’t you buy them in Hallmark?” she asked me.

“The lady told me they don’t sell them.”

Apparently, granddaughter, being a teenager, KNOWS the mall.

We head back to the Hallmark store.  She shows me a basket in the back filled with reading glasses.  Cue the heavenly music.  The basket is virtually glowing.  I’m glowing.

I put the glasses down by the register and the woman who told me they didn’t sell them looked at me in astonishment and asked, “where did you get these?”

“Not from Sears optical.  Or the bank.  Back there.”  I point.  We all look.  “In a basket.”

She looked at them in disbelief.

But I’m on this.  “So since you don’t actually sell reading glasses, I suppose I can just take these without paying?”

She laughed.  Ka-ching!  Palmed those glasses into a bag more deftly than David Copperfield could make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

“That’ll be $24.95.”

“Are you kidding me?  We sell them for less.  You can get them in the Dollar Store for a buck or two.”

“Do you want these?”

I can’t believe I just paid a store almost $25 for something they don’t even sell.

But the Quest was a success!

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That only a Mother can love.

When I was younger, my dad and I went out shopping for Mother’s Day.  Maybe it was Christmas.  I don’t know.  This is Mother’s Day so it was a Mother’s Day gift.  Dammit, Jim, I’m just an eye doctor!

My mom wanted a new lamp for our end table in the family room.  The one she had still worked.  Neither my dad nor I could understand why a perfectly good lamp needed to be replaced.  Seriously . . .do you change the bulb before it burns out?  But I digress.

So we went in search of a lamp.  At a furniture store–which also sold “accessories.”  It really wouldn’t have mattered if we went to a lamp store.  We were both clueless if we couldn’t find it in the hardware store.  And even then . . .

After wandering around with glazed looks on our eyes, a sale person finally took pity on us and helped us find a lamp.

Neither my dad nor I could find anything wrong with the lamp.  It looked nice next to the display furniture that looked nothing like our family room, but we could kind of picture it on the end table.  Who am I kidding?  The sales clerk said it was a nice lamp.  We were getting hungry and woozy.  Therefore . . . it was perfect.

My dad questioned the price, because it was apparently more than what he wanted to spend on a lamp.

The lady explained to him that the lamp was actually sold as a set of TWO lamps.

My dad told her we only wanted one.

She explained that this was not the way lamps were sold.

He explained that we only had one end table and one lamp to replace on that end table.  (He also explained that the current lamp worked just fine, and he was still unsure why we were here.)

She would have to check with her manager.

Breaking Up is apparently hard to do.

Breaking Up is apparently hard to do.

After  what seemed like days of debating to a teenager who would rather be home watching TV and filling my young mind with important things, the manager finally relented and sold my dad ONE lamp–for slightly more than half price.  This apparently was an accord of epic proportions like the Sadat-Begin Treaty (which I believe was going on around this time–eventually signed in September of 1978.)  You would have thought we were breaking up Sonny and Cher!  But I digress.

I think we also wrapped up the scissors in the box.  The paper mostly stayed on until she opened it.

She loved the lamp!  Success!

But then she looked around and with the most curious look on her face, she asked, “where’s the other lamp?”

My dad replied that we only needed one for the one end table.  This was it.

“But they usually come as a set.  I want to put the other one over there.”

My mom did eventually get the other lamp.  The sales clerk at the same furniture store that sold her the unmatched lamp to the one she had told her this amusing story about the two guys that refused to buy both lamps.  They didn’t think they’d ever be able to sell this odd one, and they were thrilled my mom was willing to buy it by itself.  My mom didn’t mention my dad or I.  I’m pretty sure she pretended she didn’t know us.  The store clerks may still be laughing about this in their retirement.

So here is my Daily Prompt letter to Mom:

Dear Mom:

          It was all dad’s fault.

          I love you.


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I went shopping at Target (pronounced Tar-jay) today.

Me, only male and without the heels. From: http://www.dumpaday.com/random-pictures/funny-pictures/wednesdays-funny-pictures-51-pics/attachment/target-funny-pictures/

Me, only male and without the heels.
From: DumpaDay.com

My electric razor broke so it was either this or risk decapitating my head trying to manually shave myself with a blade.  I haven’t used a blade since college and I wasn’t very good at it then.  I’m now on low-dose aspirin, so I think I would probably bleed to death if I tried.  I tried to fix the old razor.  The one head has been coming loose for months, but I kept snapping it back in.  And it falls out when I try to clean it.  This morning, it kept falling out while I was trying to shave.  It annoys me.  It would have to for me to go shopping.

I pull into the parking lot , which isn’t terribly crowded for a Sunday morning, and as I am pulling into a space, a woman gets in her car right in front of me.  I think to myself that this is great, because I can pull on through to her space when she leaves, and then I won’t have to back out when I return.

Have you ever tried backing out in a Wal-Mart or Target parking lot?  Any parking lot?  Pedestrians are stupid.  Or blind.  Because surely they can see a car backing out, but that doesn’t stop them.  And they all walk down the middle of the lane instead of near the cars.  Do you walk down the middle of a road or highway?  Hellooo?  McFly?  That’s where the cars go, folks.  And if you see back-up lights and a car pulling out, you’d better stop.  Or at least PICK UP YOUR PACE.   With blind spots and trying to see around today’s big SUVs, the driver probably can’t see you.  But I digress.

So I wait for the woman in the white car to pull away.  And I wait.  I pretend to look over at the store, as if I’m waiting to pick someone up, instead of waiting for her parking spot.  I don’t actually want to make eye contact with her.  I don’t know why.  I just don’t.  I open my phone and pretend to text.  I delete a few old messages from my inbox.  May as well get some useful work done here while I’m waiting for Mrs. All The Time In The World to get moving.  Her car engine is on and her brake lights are on, but nobody’s at home on the gas pedal.

It felt like I waited five minutes–perhaps I did, but it might have only been two or three.  WTH.

I finally turn my car off and get out, figuring she must be smoking a pack or eating lunch or something.  She pulls away.  If it wasn’t intentional it was the most perfectly unplanned coincidence in the history of parking.  But I showed her.  I jumped back in my car, restarted the engine, and took her spot.  Take that Bitch.

Inside, I head to the Health and Beauty section.  It’s not as though shaving makes me beautiful, or improves my health, but I figure that is the section that is most likely to have a razor in it.  And it does.  Blades.  Shaving gels.  After-shave.  Pre-shave.  Epilators for women.  Everything but an electric razor.

So I try electronics.  Ipods.  Ipads.  But no Irazors.  Well, the guy behind the camera counter raised his Ibrows at me, but that doesn’t count.  And now I can’t possibly ask him where they might be.  I don’t know why.  I just can’t.  It’s a male thing.  Like asking for directions–well, in this case, it is asking for directions.  I can’t do that.

I wander aimlessly among the aisles like Moses in the desert.  I try “Small electrics” but find only coffee pots and other well, small electric devices.  Which should include a razor, but it did not.

I call my wife, who is at Sam’s Club and the reason why I am on this shopping quest and not her, and she says the razors should be in Health and Beauty past where the curling irons are.  I didn’t see any curling irons.  I go back to Health and Beauty but I cannot find any curling irons or razors.

I continue to browse the aisles aimlessly, my eyes glassing over.  I think I’m hyperventilating.  Or hypoglycemic.  I’m beginning to get a bit woozy.  I should have grabbed a bag of M&Ms from the candy aisle.  At least I could have a sugar high, and I could leave a trail of candy to mark which aisles I have already wasted part of my life in.

I finally break down and ask the camera counter guy.  Without even thinking about it, he tells me aisle E-14 and points past Home and Garden.  I think Mr. Ibrows knew all along what I was looking for.  Either that, or he is going on break and he just sent me on a wild goose chase.  But what do I have to lose but another few hours of my life?  I’ve already lost my dignity.

I didn’t even know the aisles were marked.

But his directions were on Target, so to speak.

And now I can shave again.

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While grocery shopping with my wife, my son and I had to wait while she went in search of some, um, feminine products.

Trying to break the awkward moment, I asked him in jest, “How about them Pirates?”

I’m not a huge baseball fan.  OK.  I’m not a small baseball fan.  I’m about 5′ 6″.  But I don’t follow the sport anymore like I did when I was my son’s age.  But I do know that the Pittsburgh Pirates were actually in contention this year, or at least until the last month.  The basic point of all this is that people ARE actually talking about them again.

My son replied, “Yeah?  What about them?”

“They’re doing pretty good this year.”  What is taking her so long?

“I guess.”

“Who’s your favorite?”

“I like Johnny Depp.”

“Oh.  I’m not familiar with him.  What position does he play?”

“Captain.”  He said it with that ‘doh, are you that stupid’ voice.

Team captain, huh?  I don’t follow the sport, but I don’t know who is the team captain of the pirates.  I don’t even know if they have team captains in baseball.  But I probably couldn’t name one player on the roster right now anyway.  “Captain, huh?  But what position does he play?”

“Position?”  He’s getting annoyed with me.  What is she looking for in that aisle?

“On the field?”

“What field?”  He looks confused.  This makes me confused.

“The baseball field?”

“We’re talking baseball?”

Well, I’m not talking about the Pirates who don’t do anything.  Just the ones that can’t win anything.

“What are you talking about?”

“The Pirates of the Caribbean.”  Again, that doh! tone of voice.  “What were you talking about?”

“The Pirates of Pittsburgh?”

“Is that a movie?”


“They have Pirates in Pittsburgh?”

Well, there are three rivers.  You can sail on the river, right?

“The baseball team?  The Pirates?”

I’m looking for some evidence of recognition, but alas the lights are on but no one is at home plate.

“I didn’t know that Pittsburgh had a baseball team.”

Up until this season, a lot of people didn’t know that either.

“Do you know who’s on first?”

He shook his head.  “I don’t know.”

“He’s on third.  Who’s on first.”

“Is this something to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates?”

“Whatever,” I exclaim in disgust.  Don’t they teach these kids anything in school anymore?


“He’s on second.”

Fortunately my wife came back at this time.

Maybe someday he’ll figure it out.

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I came across this article on The Huffington Post about Australian retailers who are charging fees to use their fitting rooms.  Actually, I heard about it on the radio and Googled it. Whatever.

You should pay me to try this on!

Anyway, apparently these stores are fed up with potential customers who try on their clothes, but then don’t buy them.  In other words, some people–you know who you are–try on the clothes or shoes at the Mall to see whether they fit and/or whether they make your butt look big but then you go home and order them online for less money.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes that thanks to a 4.8 percent drop in clothing and footwear sales, retailers there have come up with a series of new tactics to encourage customers to buy off the rack and not online (for a presumably lower price)…including a fitting room fee, which is then refunded upon purchase.

And according to News.com.au, that fee could be as much as $50, the amount some ski shops are charging to try on boots.

So in an effort to curb this practice of frivolous and frugal fashion fitting, the stores have decided to piss their customers off even further.

Granted, the “fee” will be refunded if you actually buy the item.

But what if you truly don’t like how you look after you put it on?  Not only do you look like a fool in that sweater (worse yet, you look like a shooting gallery with those ducks going across the front,) but now you’re out $20 because you don’t want to actually buy it.  Why don’t they just cut you with the price tag and pour salt into the wound?

Does the fitting room fee apply only if you use the fitting room?  I’m not shy, and if it means saving up to 50 bucks, I hope you look the other way.  If not, could you hand me those boxers over there?  What are you looking at anyway?  Haven’t you ever heard of shrinkage?!  The air conditioning is on in here!

What’s next?  An admission fee to the Mall?

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