The sales period is crazy.
Sales are now nearly over, but since they create such a commotion, news headlines, perhaps – divorces, too, I decided to dedicate a couple of thoughts on the phenomenon.
My very first experience with sales in London this year, taught me a lesson.
It also made me realise what a wuss and a rookie I am.
I’m a wuss because I chickened out from the crowd I met on the high street.
And the crowd isn’t to mess with.
These are young girls, old(er) girls, single women, married women, handsome gays, angry school girls, crying toddlers and their strong-willed mothers, sleeping toddlers and more strong-willed mothers, disorientated fathers, tired, scattered around, slouching on the couches fathers, horrified boyfriends, plastic cups, toilet papers, snow, noise, Asians, muslims, Orthodox jews, unorthodox strangers, non-jews, Hindi, drunkards, double-decker buses, stray dogs, Starbucks, elevator music, and the store windows with their monstrous signs hissing through bloody teeth SALESSSSSSS!
And I’m a rookie because I didn’t gear for the sales.
To carry out a successful search-and-buy-a-bargain operation you must go with comfortable shoes, an attitude, coffee (energy booster), a wish list, and a helmet.
I went with a friend to have coffee on Oxford street and, as it went, the red sales signs called on us.
We obediently yielded to the calling. We followed the guiding light, or, rather, the sweaty crowd of manic chics, with the one big hope of finding the best bargain.
I suddenly entered a huge hall, full of more of the angry chics, racks of jeans, clothes, and glitter. I stumbled upon two girls who were fighting over something furry (or, it could have been another girl), jumped them over, swam across the left side of the department manoeuvring around feet, and arms, and semi-torn clothes, damaged signs, scared sales assistants, and more free-falling glitter and dislocated beads. My friend was nowhere to be seen. I peaked through a pile of jeans, damaged pullovers and a crying girl (she had evidently cracked under the pressure) and caught a glimpse of my friend who was grabbing jeans and blouses and stuff on sale.
I was in a centrifuge full of denim and human debris.
Grappling heaps of garment, crowds of hopefuls queued in front of occupied changing rooms.
Wounded shoppers consoled themselves with unwanted accessories 80% discounted.
More impatient customers dolled up with garment where they could find freer space between the racks and shelves.
Some puffed and huffed trying to squeeze in three sizes too small their normal.
Others swarmed over newly displayed sales items.
My girlfriend disappeared again.
The sales machine span her, us, everybody, in a mixture of fabrics, sweat, tears, and limbs.
Suddenly, she popped out of a changing room, wearing a new pair of jeans and clutching two more in one hand.
“You ok?” She asked me rushed.
“A little dizzy from the spin”. I answered, still looking around, hoping to see the exit sign and get out in the fresh air.
I was a washed sock that wanted to hang outside to dry.
But it looked like I was destined for the tumble drier next.
My girlfriend had only just started: “Get ready, darling, it’s only the first floor. There’s three more to go!” She meant it.
We decided to split. I was lost and couldn’t figure what exactly I was looking for.
“If I don’t see you, we’ll talk later, ok babe?” She encouraged me.
So, we’ll survive you think? My facial expression enquired.
Maybe. I hoped.
Sales come, human sanity goes.
Shop owners, shoppers, and even those who never thought of going to the sales go berserk.
We have discount sales on stuff from jewellery to jam, from pills to ham.
In all the chaos and disorder of the sales period, I wonder:
– how much is the original production cost of the things that get 80% discount
– why do they discount the ugly stuff only
– what happens to all the unsold sales items after the sales are over