Mall Phobia

8e199d75a074ccc7789d1d5ff03cf45dHaving a daughter is one of life’s great joys until, you are forced, against your will, to take her clothes shopping at the mall. I, naive fool that I am, thought that I had gotten through the worst of it. And by that I mean I haven’t darkened the door of a Justice clothing store for a couple of years.

For those of you lucky, lucky, mammals that have never had to cross the threshold of a Justice store it can best be described as a migraine machine. Loud, latest Disney boy band music blaring combined with garish clothes for elementary school girls that feature monkey motifs, scratch and sniff scented T-shirts and the always, classic, faux neon fur. Adding to the ambiance is a section of the store that sells accessories best suited for dressing up for a wedding at Chuck E Cheese. Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell you I did the happy dance the day my daughter aged out of cheetah skorts. 

Last week, in anticipation of an impending cold front, my youngest announced that she needed new jeans. I did my maternal duty and suggested that all she needed to do was put them on wet and really try to stretch them out. That plan didn’t work. She was insistent that we should go to the “big mall.”

I shuddered. The “big mall” is where the mean stores are. The stores that hurt your feelings or cause you to weep from sensory assault. The stores no women over 25 and 130 pounds wants to go into. I’m talking about the axis of evil known as Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21 and Hollister. I pleaded, I begged, I bargained, but in the end she got her way (shocking not) and I found myself at the mall using a free “Youthberry” beverage sample from Teavana to throw back two, “just in case”, Advils, before I entered Forever 21. 

The problem I have with Forever 21 is that there is just too much of everything. The store feel likes it’s merchandised by chimpanzees that instead of throwing poop at each other hurled clothes. There’s so much crap-a-doodle-doo to churn through that whenever I enter the store I feel as if it might swallow me whole, kind of, like a Florida sinkhole. I lasted about ten minutes before whimpering that I was having a panic attack and needed to leave. 

Next, after fortifying myself with Wetzel’s Pretzel Bites (for medicinal purpose), I followed my daughter and shrieked when she began to venture into Abercrombie and Fitch. I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back. “You can’t do this,” I told her. “By entering that store you are a willing participant in a hate crime.”

“Oh no Mom, not this again,” she wailed. 

“Oh yes, this again, my darling daughter. As a member of the ‘thighs rub together when I walk’ coalition I can’t let you do this.” 

You see, the CEO of this horrible store is known for saying comments like (and these are the kinder ones) he only wants “good-looking people to wear his clothes” and that there is “no room for fat people” in his company. In that case, jerk face, there is no room in my wallet to buy anything from A&F. 

Knowing there was zero room for negotiation on this my daughter capitulated and we set off for Hollister. Is it just me that thinks the outside of the store looks like the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land? Sadly, the inside, shares the same lightening scheme, as say, being buried alive, and smells like it was carpet bombed with the world’s most gag inducing cologne. Screw Guantanamo, use Hollister as “detainee chambers” and see if that doesn’t get the prisoners spilling secrets.

Before I subjected myself to the ordeal I took a couple of deep cleansing breathes, put a Wetzel napkin over my nose and ventured in. My daughter, used to my Hollister survival skills, didn’t say a word. Mercifully, she was in and out in under five minutes.

She still hadn’t purchased any jeans, that by this time, I was calling “Denim Slacks” just to punish her for making me endure the mall. Not wanting to be persuaded to go to some store called Garage or please, dear Lord no, not Pac Sun, I called an audible with, “You know what store has really nice stuff, no music, no discernible smell of cologne, bright overhead lights that help you read the price tags and a snack bar? Target.” 

My daughter shrugged and countered with, “Can I get a Starbucks?”

I gave her an enthusiastic yes and we both skipped out of the mall. Okay, it was more of a jog but inside I was skipping and singing. I was free, free at last.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

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8 thoughts on “Mall Phobia

  1. A.PROMPTreply says:

    OMG…..finally, someone admits to the same feelings I have! I love this! I don’t have a daughter, but I have a teen son determined to be a fashion statement. Dear God. Trying to find a pair of jeans thin enough for his waistline is the most depressing job ever! And traipsing around after him through all these stores really puts me in my place. I will make a suggestion and he will say, “Oh, no. that’s OLD!” Old? And then, the pretty (read that NOT OLD) salesgirl will come up and suggest the exact same thing in perhaps a different colour and voila! He lights up and follows her around like a puppy dog arms chock full of things he MUST have. And why, why, why must so many of these stores not believe in lighting? They cram the store so full of things that you can’t even move and then proceed to turn down the lights to such a level that it HAS to be a health and safety concern even for those of us without OLD eyes! Yes, this is by far my most favourite post so far….it’s nice to have company in my old age.

  2. Laura says:

    LOL!! I can totally relate. I have a 13-year-old girl and I remember the feeling of pure joy when I realized we had graduated from Justice. The Chuck E. Cheese wedding description is spot on, by the way. 🙂 At least at the mall we get a little more variety.

    And I successfully avoided A&F the last time we went. How? Well, I simply made her hesitate outside while I took a large breath of fresh air and then proceeded to pinch my nose closed before heading toward the entrance. She stopped in her tracks and said, “Mom! How embarrassing! Please stop!” I had to release my fresh air as I explained to her that I just didn’t want a headache from the overpowering scent (stench) of cologne, but she could shop as long as she wanted, and I would just come out periodically for fresh air. Then I asked if she was ready as I took another large breath of fresh air and pinched my nose closed. She gently shook her head and quietly said, “Never mind. Let’s just go to Hollister.” Releasing my second batch of fresh air, I said, “Are you sure?” She said, “Positive.”

    So off we went to Hollister, which may be dimly lit and have current “cool” music playing, but at least it doesn’t smell like a cheap cologne factory and is therefore not a migraine waiting to happen. For the most part, I actually enjoyed the girl time with my daughter at the mall. As long as I can avoid A&F, I won’t mind these excursions too much because I know it will be all too soon that she will be going with her friends or driving herself to the mall. And one day she will fondly remember almost going to A&F with me. 🙂

  3. Kelly Lawrence says:

    I completely concur on every point. But just as an FYI, Hollister is an Abercrombie owned store, so to protest their very distasteful sales philosophy, avoid Hollister for both their sensory as well well as moral violations.

  4. Jolie says:

    Well my 9 year old gymnast daughter wanted to go to Justice a few months ago. I realize that it is a wise mother who prepares themselves mentally for this, so I went in ready for a long visit. After approximately 10 times being asked if I could be helped, they realized I’m not a helped kind of shopper and left us be. It sounds like I will trade my hatred for Justice into hatred for other stores, thanks for preparing me. 😛 And yes, I know what you mean about the pirate look outside of the mall store, the dim light and smell – I don’t have to step foot in those stores yet, but dread the day I do!

  5. Pam says:

    I tell my daughter I am deathly allergic to malls and refuse to go in them.
    Since I work PT retail, and get a good employee discount, she is fine with shopping at my store and the thrift store….she has learned she gets more clothes and shoes this way. And that is, after all, her ultimate goal 😉
    I let her sainted grandmother do the mall runs on her visits out to us….maybe I will like mall shopping when I have grandchildren…

    Nah. 🙂

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