As happens every year, despite a herculean effort to suppress temptation, I succumb.
Lured once again by the promises of end-of-season summer sales, I am off to the mall. Perhaps I can pick up a dress for Cousin Amy’s 60th birthday party next April. Or, maybe a new bathing suit for my February winter escape to Florida.
To tell the truth, I know better. The hours spent plowing through racks of summer leftovers almost never yields anything worth all the trouble. But shopping is in my blood, and getting a bargain, even on something I do not need or necessarily want, is just too enticing.
Waiting on line to pay, I try hard to convince myself I’ll actually wear the turquoise sweater set I’m holding. Meantime, the silver-haired, older woman, standing ahead of me, heaves an audible sigh as she drops a dozen or more dresses on the sales counter and then begins a frenzied search through her oversized handbag for something which seems intent on eluding her.
Seconds later, waving a fistful of store coupons, she shouts, “I never know which ones to use.”
“Well, let’s see what you have there,” the young pretty clerk at the register offers most solicitously.
I roll my eyes. This is going to take a while.
Picking up the first dress, a small-sized, pink and yellow floral peasant dress, the clerk cries, “Oh! Isn’t this pretty!”
“Yeah, it’s for my granddaughter. But she won’t like it. She’ll probably bring it back and keep the money,” snarls the silver- haired woman. Shrugging, she adds, “I don’t know why I even bother.”
“Oh, I think she’ll like it. It’s so dainty and so feminine.”
“Dainty? I wish! My daughter-in-law dresses her like a boy.”
Time for another eye roll.
Those of us on the line are now subjected to the silver-haired lady’s tirade on issues with her daughter-in-law, her grand-daughter’s lack of style, and her own unappreciated expertise on trendy and classy clothes.
Attempting to re-focus her customer, the sales clerk again picks up the peasant dress. “You could use your 10% or 15% coupon for this one and save your $5 off coupon for a higher priced item.”
“That’s less than $4 off,” argues the woman. “I’d rather get the $5 off.”
“I think you’d do better taking the $5 off this $45 blue sheath.”
“Before or after you take off the extra 40%?”
“Sorry. No additional discount; it’s already marked down.”
“Yeah, but the sign says 40% off the lowest price. Discount to be taken at the register.”
“No, the lowest price already reflects the 40% off.”
“No, it doesn’t. Then it would be marked $36, not $45. You’re supposed to take off another 40% and then use my $5 coupon.”
“No, madam, it doesn’t work that way.”
“Yes, it does. Call a manager.”
Shouting, “I don’t believe this,” the woman behind me throws her three items over the nearest rack of clothes and stomps away. I stand looking at the turquoise sweater set that I am liking less and less but am somehow hesitant to cast aside.
The manager is busy.
“I’ll wait,” says the lady with the twelve dresses.
“Can you take me in the meantime?” I ask politely, holding up the single item I am waiting to purchase.
“No,” barks the young clerk, now flustered and angry. “I’ve already started ringing up this sale.”
“Is there another register I can go to?”
“You can try the shoe department, but I think they are all at lunch.”
I toss the turquoise sweater set, which I now decide I actually detest, alongside the grandmother’s pile of dresses.
But maybe I’ll go back tomorrow. With an additional 40% off, that little turquoise sweater set is really a steal.