Dammit. It’s the sales. And I’m not saying this because I am the world’s greatest shopaholic and the sales encourage me to run the up the equivalent of the national debt. On the contrary, I’m a bit shopaphobic and walking into a retail outlet where there are hundreds, even thousands of articles on sale does crazy things to my brain.
I have always been like this but at fifty the trait just seems to have become more accentuated, acute, annoying. I just cannot decide what to buy. Give me a choice and I hum and haw, see and saw. Okay, I’ll take this one. No. That one’s a lot nicer. Oh God. I didn’t see that one over there. Then I stand in the queue waiting to pay and just before it’s my turn I’ll pretend to remember something I forgot on the other side of the shop and take it back to its spot, lay it down, wave it goodbye and leave.
You could argue that I never need buy anything, whether on sale or not, and you would be absolutely right. But I have another pain-in-the bum trait. I’m a scarfaholic so I need to top up the collection, which in fact has mostly been bought by friends and family, and when better to do that than during the sales?
It took me almost an hour the other day to choose one. I had scaled down the choice to four, hanging them all over my arm, walking back and forth between the scarf stand and the mirror, trying them all on at least five times each. A bit itchy that one. Straggly threads at the bottom of this one. Too much white. Too much black. Jeeeesus woman, just pick one. I couldn’t, so I picked two. Hallelujah! And for once I didn’t chicken out at the last minute before paying.
Heartened by this extraordinary feat of decision-making I then decided I should also get a new pair of gloves since I had dropped one on my walk back from work the night before and it was nowhere to be seen when I returned the next morning. Who in their right mind would pick up a single glove and keep it? A one-armed bandit?
Anyway, I finally decided on a fine, black suede pair. Classy new me. They were in a bunch of identical ones with a green dot indicating a thirty percent discount. Nice. My size had the green dot missing from its ticket but I supposed it had simply fallen off. I informed the make-up-caked cashier of this unfortunate occurrence when I reached the till. She beeped them through.
Sorry Madam. Yours aren’t on sale.
What do you mean? All the others which are exactly the same are!
Yes, but yours are from this season. The others are from last season.
I don’t care. They are the same gloves. I want the same discount. Please. (I don’t know why I added this ‘please’. Her torn-face, condescending, bitchy look certainly didn’t deserve it.)
That’s impossible Madam.
If I had been any further on in my menstrual cycle I would have taken the gloves and slapped them backwards and forwards across her orange slimy face, imagining them to be a stinky, big, wet fish. Instead I just shoved them back into her hand.
Keep your stupid, bloody, far too expensive, yet gorgeously fine and beautifully soft, suede gloves, I almost said.
No thanks then, I really said. And I stomped off feeling both angry and sad.
I have another whole year to wait until this season becomes last season. Another whole year before they will actually be on sale for real.
Never mind. I can practise my new-found decision-taking in other areas. So, let’s see, what will I do today? Read, eat, snooze in front of the fire? That’s a hard one. Maybe all three. Then perhaps I could go into town and buy those gloves even if they aren’t on sale. Ooooooh. Now, there’s a really tough decision to make.