Shopping is Slow, Boring Torture

I would rather mow a football field with a pair of nose hair clippers than go shopping.

Not bookstores and flea markets.  That kind of shopping I could do all day long.  I’m talking clothes-and-shoes shopping.

Not too long ago it suddenly dawned on me that aside from a minor shopping excursion last winter, I hadn’t upgraded my wardrobe in years.  And being unfashionably utilitarian when it comes to clothes, it was all a bit on the plain side.  So, for the sake of my confidence and my long-suffering husband, it was with great trembling and fear that I decided to go clothes shopping.

Except that I had no clue how to do it.

I don’t do shopping excursions with girlfriends.  The idea of being in a clothing store and not being able to control when I leave fills me with a vague sense of dread.   So I wasn’t entirely sure where people went to buy nice clothes for a good price.  And then there is the whole matter of putting an outfit together.  I seriously have no idea how people do it.   That chunk of my brain that’s supposed to know which skirt goes with which top is full of maps of Middle-Earth and 80s arcade game strategies.   Sorting through all those racks of clothes trying to find stuff doesn’t make me look like a used car salesman from the 70s makes my head spin.

So I did what I always do when I have no clue what I’m doing:  research.  I found a promising looking store, studied some pictures of cute winter outfits, grit my teeth, and set out.

It was packed.  There was lots of stuff to go through.  I had to navigate some tricky situations involving what to do while someone was browsing through all the stuff I wanted to look at.  I wished I were at home passing a kidney stone.  But in the end, I managed to find a few flattering things.  Dare I say I even look forward to rocking my new outfits.  But some days I’d still just like to wear whatever and be done with it.


I’d totally crochet myself some sweater vests

CC image courtesy of x-ray delta one on flickr

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9 Responses to Shopping is Slow, Boring Torture

  1. ischemgeek says:

    I hate clothes shopping. I have found that going at slow times – Wednesday morning or what have you – makes it more bearable, as does offering myself breaks after every store wherein I grab a snack or a coffee or something.

    Lately, I’ve been debating just shopping online, but I’m worried about fit and returns, so I’m not sure if I will ever make the leap.

    • bjforshaw says:

      I have used online shopping in a limited way, but only to get more of the same items I already own. I have to see and feel the clothes to know if I’m going to have any sensory issues with the feel of the material, seams, fit and so on and (obviously) I can’t do that through the screen.

      I can’t do busy shops: I overload with the claustrophobic press of crowds of people and their noise, so like you I do my best to shop at quieter times. Not so easy when you’re working through the week, but some stores do stay open into the evenings which helps. It’s not often I need to shop for new clothes that aren’t copies of things I already own, but when I do I tend to go to the same stores I’ve been to in the past because the familiarity helps.

      Breaks are a great strategy to give yourself time to relax and keep the overall stress level manageable.

      • ischemgeek says:

        One good thing about my work is that I have flex hours. I can show up 3 hours late as long as I make it up somewhere else. I usually don’t because I like to get home and like having weekends, but the option is there if I need it. As such, I usually will take off a Wednesday and then make it up on Saturday afternoon if I need to do clothes shopping.

      • bjforshaw says:

        Flex time is very helpful — I get a lot of leeway to shift my hours within the day where I work, but it’s not official company policy, and I can’t work longer one day, or the weekend, to take time off on another day. That would be awesome! I don’t know what the situation is like in your part of the world but in the UK flex hours aren’t very common, so the flexibility I do get is unusually good.

      • ischemgeek says:

        It’s fairly common to have some degree of flex time in academia where I live (mainly because workloads are like 60-80hrs/wk in academia and everyone’s salaried), but outside of academia, it’s fairly uncommon. Some companies are moving towards it because everyone’s happy when, say, parent’s don’t have to take time off work entirely if they need to take care of a sick kid.

  2. Alana says:

    I hide in the dressing room and my sister brings me things to try on. But mostly, I wear my cousins old clothes. Because that doesn’t require stores.

  3. bjforshaw says:

    I’m a lover of bookstores too, especially those old independent ones where the shelves form a labyrinth — it’s like entering another world with wonderful surprises around every turn. And they’re always quiet without many people. A haven from the hectic world outside. And then there’s the smell… I love the smell of books; of the ink and paper, or the leather and glue in the covers and bindings of old books. Time flows differently in bookstores: an hour feels like 5 minutes. Compared to that, clothes shopping is just a necessity, to be completed as quickly as possible. I’ve never understood those people who can spend hours shopping — for fun! And they think I’m weird?

    • Aspermama says:

      Oh my goodness, book smell has to be one of the best smells ever. I love independent book stores too, but sadly the last one left in our city closed down just a few years ago, only to be replaced by a home decorating boutique of all things.

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