Having cleared out my wardrobe of winter clothes, there were gaping spaces just crying out to be filled, so we went shopping. Here’s what I picked up.
In Benetton, I had to wait for 90 minutes to pay for a summer dress for my daughter. There was no queue, but there was no one to take my money either. All five staff were grouped round a table, refolding T-shirts angrily and giving smouldering scowls at anyone who came within range. I caught a glimpse of a woman waiting outside the changing rooms. She had a classic look, that of a homely witch, with a huge barrel-shaped body, hairy wart on her chin and electro-shocked black hair. She looked like Hazel Witch without the hat. Moments later, her daughter (about ten years old) came out wearing a cute white cotton blouse. She looked EXACTLY like her mother! She spun round in front of the full-length mirror admiring herself. Her mother laughed happily and shouted over to one of the sales women, “Are you sure that’s an XL??”
In Coin department store, there was a queue for the swimsuit changing rooms. I’m absolutely not fattist but I sometimes think there should be a professional mother-type outside the changing rooms vetting what goes in with whom. She could just roll her eyes or purse her lips. In the absence of such a mute arbiter, I watched a well-built girl come out and give a twirl in a skin-tight top – it looked like a sausage liner round her waist and showed a suspension bridge bra strap across her back. Her boyfriend’s eyes also bulged when she said, “You know what? I think I need the XS.”
As more girlfriends squeezed into the changing rooms and the queue got no shorter, I snuck across to the children’s section changing rooms. As part of our cunning plan, Mr B grabbed a couple of kid’s dungarees and stood guard nonchalantly outside.
On leaving Coin, I noticed their department guide* on the wall:
- Futility Office
Futility Office. I LIKE it – honest and direct.
* I was going to call it a drop-down menu.
And sometimes when I’m scanning a text on paper, I mentally think of doing CTRL-F.