The planets must have aligned briefly, the other morning, as I found myself in a shopping centre with some disposable income and only one placid child dozing in her pram. I had money to buy myself a belated birthday present and it was a Tuesday morning. I discovered, whilst on my first maternity leave in 2006, that Tuesday mornings are the optimum time to shop. Shops are empty, there is no queuing and everything is fully stocked unlike a Saturday where you will find an abundance of size 6 and size 20 clothes but not a lot in other sizes. It is the perfect time to shop. I arrived in Dundrum, bright-eyed and enthusiastic and positive. The following happened and I left a sweaty, desolate, poorer mess.
I had to collect some things I had ordered online for the new child, I done that. Then I bought her some hats. Then I went to another shop and saw more baby hats so I bought more. Then I wandered around a bit more. Then I bought some writing paper and envelopes. Then I spent 25 minutes debating with myself ( in my head, things aren’t that bad yet) did I need a gold jumper and was it a bit Joan Collins esque or actually lovely. It took a while to find something in all the shops that wasnt pastel coloured. Pastel is the A/W colour this year apparently………Pastel colours are no friend of mine though, are they the friend of anyone who is not their goal body weight? Anyway I decided that really I had nowhere to wear a gold jumper to so I put it back. I then realised two hours had passed and time was running out. Mild panic set in. I was meant to be buying myself nice things.
Ten minutes later found me still in Tk Maxx looking at dog clothes. There is no size guide on the back of them so I was trying to hold them up and judge which would fit a labrador. I have never bought dog clothes or dressed a dog so its pretty hard to call. I then caught sight of myself in a mirror holding up a dog jacket. “Put it fucking down you silly bitch, the dog does not need clothes ,you need clothes, buy something” I had progressed to arguing with myself out loud at this point. I put the dog jacket down.
I went to leave, saw another baby hat, queued to pay for it, picked up some more stationary whilst in queue, left Tk Maxx. I had a pang of regret about leaving without the gold jumper. I had 30 minutes left. I went to Penneys. The pastel fairy had been before me and vomited pale pinks, blues and grays everywhere.
I bought a leopard print bra which wont fit me out of pure desperation.
Nearly three hours in I now had bought writing paper, notebooks, 6 baby hats and a leopard print bra in the wrong size. I started to sweat. MAKE UP. I would buy make up, I needed make up. The downside to the empty shop Tuesday morning shopping is the immaculate women who work at make up counters have very few customers and they were waiting, waiting to pounce. They terrify me. They are so perfect.They have perfect make up and perfect hair and perfect smiles and they make me buy things I don’t need nor know how to use . I have a mild real fear of them and their perfect powers to make you spend. I spotted two of them approaching. ” No I don’t want to spend 8k just to avail of a free gift in a shiny make up bag ” I repeated in my head as they came near me. “NO THANKS I JUST NEED FOUNDATION ” I roared, as they closed in on me. My voice came out louder than anticipated in the quiet shop. It was because of the assertive pep talk I had been giving myself in my head. One perfect woman started her spiel. I grabbed the foundation smiled and walked away. It wasn’t the exact colour I wanted but I had frightened myself and no doubt the perfect women with my roaring and it was a panic buy.
Time up. I left. I had no new boots or no new jeans. I had stationary, loads and loads of fucking stationary. The writing paper ( two sets) is really lovely but I have nobody to write to and even if I did have to write to someone instead of emailing them, I never have stamps. I have an ill-fitting bra. I have new foundation in the wrong colour and my child has loads of hats. They are all a bit too big for her and wont fit her till next Summer probably at which time she will have no need for fabulous cosy winter hats unless her head goes through a remarkable growth spurt in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed.
The money is of course gone now. I had an opportunity to spend it and I took that opportunity and stamped on it. Stupid shopping. If anyone would like me to write to them, let me know, in the meantime, I will be making lists in my notebooks with my new pens whilst encouraging my child’s head to grow not wearing lovely new boots or a new coat or even a Joan Collins style gold jumper.