Tag Archives: shopping

Let’s see… did you really need to be there?

19 Apr

Image Source: http://www.quickmeme.com/img/91/912e90c02b8f22e482183f1940c9972ed6633bf2ecefd2907920777c81f05f8c.jpg

OK. So here’s something that provided HOURS of comedy fodder to Alan and me during our recent trip to Hawaii. I think it will be categorized as, “guess you had to be there” but I’m willing to test-drive it on an audience before sending it to an early burial. Here goes…

On our flight from Seattle to Honolulu, Alan left his Kindle in the seatback pocket of the airplane. Nevermind that the flight attendants TOLD us to check the seatback pockets for any belongings. I guess Alan was fairly confident that his contained only used napkins and drink stirrers, which would’ve (in hindsight) been about 90% accurate.

Also? He may have been under the influence of a Mai Tai (or ten) when we landed, so some of the instructions were undoubtedly ignored.

Fast forward two days, to our first opportunity to camp out in the sun and read.

“I can’t find my Kindle,” Alan informed me.

Before I could even suggest places for him to look, he said, “I’ve already searched everything and I’m pretty sure I remember tucking it into the seatback pocket on the plane.”

Doh. Fortunately I don’t enjoy reconstructing events to job people’s memories, so I wasn’t miffed.

Alan was somewhat calm about having no reading material, but I knew why: he’d had his Kindle for years and it was both clunky and glitchy, providing more headaches than smiles. He’d been planning to get a new one for some time and had only stalled out of convenience. He might not like not having a book to read on vacation, but he would certainly look forward to replacing his device.

“I bet you can replace it today so you have something to read on vacation,” I suggested – only partly altruistically since I knew Alan would be bored facing the ocean without something to read.

He immediately latched on to the idea, so we did a quick search to see where Kindles were sold. It was a surprisingly short list, made even shorter when you consider retail options on Oahu. We decided to give “Toys ‘R Us” a try since it was on our way from the North Shore to Hawaii Kai.

When we entered the mall, we couldn’t find Toys R Us. That was somewhat surprising since it’s usually large enough to be an anchor store, but we turned our sites to the directory and found that it was a “Toys ‘R Us EXPRESS.” We groaned, knowing that the “express” meant it probably had limited stock.

As we approached it my mental track sounded like playing the game show “Press Your Luck,” where I kept hearing the phrase, “No Whammies, No Whammies, No Whammies, Stop!”

Upon entering, we found one salesperson  – presumably a local high school girl – working the cash register, utterly bored but not looking for an interruption.

And here’s where we enter inside joke territory…

“Excuse me,” I said, hoping to save time. “Do you have any Amazon Kindles?”

She stared at as blankly, her mouth hanging open as if my words had caused her jaw to lock. The only thing that moved were her eyes, which shifted between Alan and me, more slowly than a metronome set for a kindergartener.

After a suspenseful pause (during which Alan and I had both scanned the shelves behind her) she said:

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm… … … …. …. 


Alan and I looked in opposite directions as we swallowed and nodded our heads, trying to formulate a question that would politely allow us to do our own search for a Kindle without insulting her.

Because clearly, she didn’t even try – she didn’t glance around or ask clarifying questions – she had just stood in place, staring at us before taking one full minute to say no. I’m pretty sure that she was trying to mentally riffle through the filing drawers of her mind to recall if she’d ever seen a Kindle, and was finding that each drawer was shockingly empty, as if she were an Enron employeed and we’d just announced an audit.

Alan beat me to the punch. His diplomatic response (as I stood shaking with quiet laughter) was, “Cool. Can you show me your electronics section then? I might find another reader.”

After fumbling for a key, she zombie-walked three feet to a locked glass door just to the right of the counter, pushing aside a rolling ladder that blocked the way. “See anything?” she asked, gesturing to row after row of LeapFrogs.

My giggling intensified, as I imagined saying, “Sorry – we’re looking for a READER, not for something to help us LEARN to read.”

Fortunately, Alan ignored me and pointed. “Hey, I think that’s an {Amazon Kindle} Fire! Could I take a look at that?”

She obliged, allowing Alan to handle the EXACT ITEM we had come in to purchase – the SAME ONE she had just said they didn’t have in stock – as long as he called it something different.

As she rang him up, we couldn’t even look at each other. We both kept making guttural, “um no” noises, the way she had told him they had no Amazon Kindles for sale. We sounded like a retail version of Slingblade while we checked out, then thoroughly lost it in the car.

For the rest of the trip, it only took one of us saying, “Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… No?” to crack the other person up.



My girls are riding a wee bit higher these days.

9 Mar

One of the items on my 40 x 40 list was to get a professional bra fitting. I know, it’s kind of pathetic that I’m almost 40, have huge knockers, and have never actually been fitted. Especially since people (by which I mean Oprah Winfrey) swear that the right bra makes all the difference.

So I put it on my list. And my clever sister gave me the nudge to get it done: For Christmas, her gift to me was a bra made out of $20’s and ribbon, along with directions to Coup de Foudre, an upscale lingerie store in downtown DC. How awesome is that? Here’s her handiwork:

Miss Moneycups!

Miss Moneycups!

The first two months of 2014 flew by, but I finally made an appointment this last weekend with Renee at Coup de Foudre for a proper fitting.

It started in a dressing room, where I faced a mirror, still fully clothed. Renee was behind me, and started feeling along where my band ran, talking as she went. “I’m getting a 34,” she said, “though you might need to go down to a 32.” It was kind of like a magician guessing “Ace of Spades” after asking you to cut the deck. Fascinating.

Then she had me turn around, and she set about deducing my cup size, still working over my tshirt. I have no modesty, so it wasn’t awkward at all, but I think even shy women wouldn’t get flustered – she was professional, unobtrusive, and able to capture measurements in a very short period of time.

After getting a sense of the geography, she disappeared to select a few bras. It turns out that measurements aren’t reliable because bras are all constructed and sized a bit differently. So the fitting is more than simply determining your measurements – it’s trying on a bunch of bras that are in the right ballpark to determine which ones fit the best and most comfortably.

The brilliance in that approach is that you completely move away from the traditional sizing system, so you don’t get hung up on wanting to be a certain size. Apparently this is common. To prove how varied the sizing is, I walked away with both a 34DD and a 32F. And you can bet your ass I would never have knowingly tried on a 32F.

Renee has been fitting women for over twenty years, so she was a wealth of information. She confirmed that most women wear bands that are too big and cups that are too small. She summarized boob job trends over the years: Apparently bigger is en vogue now, but a 36C used to be considered ideal. She also noted that most women fail to do a few key moves after putting on a bra – namely pulling the breast to the center of the cup, and using a finger to adjust the top edge of the cup for a perfect fit.

The only tip I have for women heading into the process: Choose your outfit wisely. Specifically, you want to wear a tshirt (or something smooth) so you can test it over bras to see how they sit under clothing, and be sure you’re wearing pants that you don’t mind looking at your stomach in. As crazy as that sounds, you spend the majority of the 60-90 minutes standing in a well-lit dressing room, dressed from the waist down as you try on a variety of bras. If you’re wearing pants that make you self-conscious about your stomach, your attention won’t be on the right thing.

So there you go. One more off the 40×40 list, and I’m walking a bit taller. Or at least, I appear to be.

Oh – and because I want to make sure I’m properly caring for my fine new bras, I googled “how often should bras be laundered.” Um…

Image Source: http://cdn.themetapicture.com/media/funny-bra-how-often-wash.jpg

Make your list. Check it twice. Then check it again.

3 Dec

I generally pride myself on being a pretty thoughtful gift-giver. I try to pay attention throughout the year when someone mentions a guilty pleasure or item they’re coveting. There is little more satisfying than seeing a person completely surprised by something they can’t even remember saying they wanted.

Clearly, a preface like that can only mean one thing, right? That I am an absolute, utter jackass. Let me explain.

My good friend Betsy came over for dinner on Wednesday. The last time I saw her was a few weeks ago, when we celebrated our birthdays. It’s become something of a tradition to make dinner together and exchange gifts.

The thing is, other than the year I had postage stamps printed featuring a photo of her dog, I always come up short when trying to think of creative gifts for her. She already HAS a lot of the things I would naturally think to give her, so I often find myself “giving an O’Connell* Gift,” as my family calls it.

[An O’Connell* Gift is when you give someone a present that you would like yourself. We call it this because as a high schooler, my friend Ryan O’Connell’s brother – drawing his pre-school cousin’s name in their annual gift exchange – gave her a subscription of Sports Illustrated. Yeah.]

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Clearly this was a man’s idea.

20 Apr

Tuesday morning as Alan and I were getting ready to leave for work, he emerged from my guest bedroom with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Are those your new pants in the closet there?” he asked.

I confirmed that they were.

“Interesting label on them,” he paused. “I can’t believe they actually sell pants that are billed as ‘curvy with stretch.’ That’s clearly a euphamism.”

I would have glared at him, but I share the same opinion. I buy 90% of my wardrobe from Ann Taylor Loft. I love that I can grab clothes off the rack and know if they’ll fit without trying them on, but I think their sizing system is a bit, um, insulting.

They have three styles for all their pants, each named after a woman: there’s the Ann, Julie or Marissa cut. While I like the fit, I find the names stupid. Not to mention, when you have two names clearly rooted in the 70s, what is Marissa doing there? It’s like Barbie and Skipper suddenly having to drag Barbie’s younger sister Stacie along. Just a mismatched item.

So back to Alan. He wanted to know a) how a store actually turned a profit that had a product labeling women as fat, and (to his credit), wondering why I needed a pair of pants designed to be curvy and stretchy.

I explained that the Marissa cut is for straight, boy-cut bodies, so those clearly wouldn’t work for me (I have hips, yo!). And the Ann style is made for — I don’t know, I guess people whose belly buttons are located where most people have a sternum. Or perhaps they should be called the mom-cut, since the waistband is always about four inches above a person’s hips.

Whatever. With those as my other options, I’ll take the pants that are designed for someone with a distinct waist and hips with a different measurement. And even if they may have been named by a passive-aggressive man who wanted his wife to diet, I’m going to just think that the “stretchy” allows me to have an extra helping of dinner without sweating it.

Now that I think of it, I’m seeing the advantage to pants that have a waist band four inches above my actual waist. Sign me up for the Ann cut!

Rules: If you are in front of me in a line…

12 May

If you’re in line to pay for something:

  • Organize your items on the conveyor belt so that people behind you with heavy baskets can set their stuff down too.
  • Don’t judge my purchases. I’m not laughing at you for your ExLax, so don’t look repulsed by my assortment of TGIFriday frozen foods.
  • If you’re browsing a magazine, you still need to keep one eye trained on the line and move appropriately. (Don’t make me nudge you.)
  • How about finding your wallet BEFORE you get to the register. And even better, have your credit card out.
  • For the love of small puppies and all things holy, don’t even think about writing a check. Who even uses those any more?
  • If you want to dispute a price, the difference better exceed 20 cents. Otherwise, I’ll give you a quarter and we’ll call it a day.
  • If your can has a dent in it, tough shit. You should’ve noticed that when you took it off the shelf. Not now, when there’s a line of people behind you.
  • Please don’t act as if you’ve never used a pinpad to complete a transaction. You should know where the debit/credit button is and how to slide your card. If you don’t, you should only function in a cash-based world or order from Peapod.

If you’re in line to use the bathroom:

  • First off, you must be a woman. I’ve never seen a man in a line for this.
  • If you ARE a man in line for a bathroom – go outside. It’s faster and we women need your bathroom.
  • Be alert. When a stall opens, make a break for it, or I will.
  • This isn’t a time to be fickle. If you don’t like the looks of your stall, don’t stand there contemplating it and praying for another one to open. If you do, I will shove you out of the way and use it. You’re squatting anyway, so unless there is a turd sitting on top of the toilet paper dispenser, I think you’re good.
  • I’d actually appreciate it if everyone in line started unzipping, unbuckling and unsnapping while still in line. We could speed this whole thing up if everyone did a bit of public prep work.

What do you think? Am I way off base here?