I get excited when I know I’m going shopping. There, I said it.
I get that tummy tickling sense of anticipation when I know the postman will be bringing me something I’ve ordered online and it’s all the better if I get the chance to actually have a mooch around the shops. Living in the countryside means I don’t get much time in towns anymore so I do look forward to it when I know I’m heading into civilisation for the day. I make a mental list of what I want to look for and which shops I’ll launch myself into first.
Yet somehow, at the end of a day’s shopping I always leave in an exhausted, sweaty mess. Shopping should be a delight to the soul but in reality it’s often a test to one’s sanity. Here’s what drives me nuts about shopping trips:
Shopping stress #1:
I can only speak for my own country but in the UK the weather is as changeable as my littlest bears mood. So we do what anyone would do when you’re going to be spending frequent periods outdoors; We dress in layers to shop. Especially in the winter. Everyone knows this. It’s a thing. Surely store managers know this too, right? So WHY, when they know people are walking around in a vest, Tshirt, jumper, coat with the obligatory scarf do they set their thermostats to match tropical climates. As if they’re expecting you to come shopping in your bikini. Throughout the shopping trip you gradually strip off the layers as you begin to melt, feeling the momentary relief of fresh air between stores. You’re clammy and agitated and, of course, you’re now carrying the coat you thought would be essential mid November.
Shopping stress #2:
I’m not being weird here. I’m talking about children. Babies. Toddlers. The offspring. As my girls get older I often fantasise about having a girls day together, perusing the shops and having a nice chat over lunch. My oldest is nearly there. But not quite. It’s manageable if she hasn’t got her sister to spar with. The littlest bear on the other hand is quite the typical child or man to shop with. We havn’t got out of the car before she asks if we’re done. Granted she doesn’t hide in the clothes rails anymore or fail to tell me she has instigated a game of hide-and-seek in Boots but she’s very much a consciencous objector of retail therapy. It does not bode well for a fun and relaxed day. It’s impossible to decide which Lush bath bomb to try out when your child is trying to stick sprigs of lavender up their nose. You’re always in a rush at best of times and the pressure is on to grab what you want and retreat before any serious damage is done – or worse, they start bickering with their siblings.
Shopping stress #3:
I know, I know. It’s a two way street. Customers can be awful. I’ve been there done that, and had to grit my teeth behind a forced smile and wish rude customers a nice day as they snarl at you. Ultimately we all have a responsibility to be nice humans. But here’s the thing. Retail staff are paid to be helpful and pleasant. I’m not even going there with those shop assistants that glare at you when you walk into an upmarket store like you’re way too working class to be allowed into such an establishment. Considering that species of people is beyond Moaning-Mondays and moving towards blind rage. Less infuriating but still irritating, it seriously grinds my gears something terrible when you get to the checkout and the staff behind the till take your goods, ring them through but don’t actually acknowledge you. And chat to their counterpart on the next till. As if discussing their drunkard antics the previous night cannot wait until their lunch break. I admit, when cashiers have done this and handed me my change/card without even glancing at me, I’ve been known to stand there with my arm still held out and a smile plastered on my pee’d off face until they do. MANNERS COST NOTHING BUT AFFECTS EVERYTHING!!
Shopping stress #4:
So by now you have sweat dripping down your back, your littlies are on their tenth and absolutely final warning or they will not get that magazine you negotiated with them in the car on the way to the shops. Your arms are aching from carrying more garments of clothing that you brought with you from home than you have actually bought on the shopping trip. You’ve just realised you have six minutes until your parking ticket runs out and you’re finally at the front of the queue. Little miss rude is manning the till and although you may have been interested to know that the bar in town does a great 2 for 1 cocktail offer on a Friday night (but avoid the sex on the beach because little miss rude #2 in the next till was ‘soooooooooo hammered that she puked in the taxi home), you’re beyond agitated that she can’t just get on and do her job quickly and politely. There’s now 4 minutes until youre parking ticket runs out and panic is building up inside. She slowly counts your change and then PILES IT ON TOP OF YOUR RECEIPT IN YOUR SODDIN’ HAND. You then have to separate the two to avoid ripping your purse at the seams. This costs you an vital 30 seconds of your time as you race towards the car park with your coat under your arm and kids in tow.
Shopping Stress #5:
Your watch was wrong and you get to your car 10 minutes after your ticket expired.
There’s a lovely yellow and black sticker waiting for you on your windscreen.
I have a theory that your mind is built to forget the pain of childbirth. It can be the only reason we choose to procreate more than once. I reckon we are also wired to ‘forget’ the hassle of shopping. Otherwise the retail industry would have gone down the pan years ago.
What sends you into a frenzy when you hit the shops?
Ah, That’s better. Happy Monday!
Mrs C x
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