Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend Shopping

Normally I'm a mail-order kind of person. This weekend, however, I did more in-the-stores shopping than I've done in months. The Mall on Saturday, the grocery on Sunday AND Wal-Hell on Monday.

Eldest Duckling and I went to The Mall so that she could buy shoes and we could both get new outfits for Tuesday. We had a great conversation about body image sparked by Project Runway controversy that showed she's way cooler about such things than I was at her age: "Mom, they're [the models] size zero or two which is the same size I am and I'm TWELVE! They are NOT normal!" was one memorable quote and the other was "you can be beautiful and fat or skinny and ugly; they're two separate things." I still struggle with that latter one myself and I'm forty next month.

Shoes were easy enough since she's now a half-size larger than I am and can therefore shop adult women's which is huge and always in the front of the store. She picked a nice blue pair; I didn't look at brand but I'm glad she did because the first words out of MIL's mouth were "Nike or Reebok?"*

Our mall is truly tiny and consists of maybe a dozen stores, a multiplex movie theater and a Penney's. Guess where we went for clothes? Yup, and it was crowded with other mom-kid pairs doing the same damned thing. I played runner to and from the dressing room (hidden in the baby department for some curious reason) and luckily all the stuff she REALLY liked was available in her size**. I also persuaded her to try a dress-up dress because I knew she currently didn't own ANY--that was a struggle. She finally decided to humor Mom and found out the hard way that bright cherry-red isn't nearly as flattering to a redhead as boring navy blue. She looked stunning, but after about a half-dozen choruses of "MOM I am just NOT a dress person" I gave up on actually buying the thing. Turned out I wasn't a dress person that day either; the one I tried on would've been hideous even if it had been available in the proper size. I settled for a purple sweater and can't decide how old I need to feel because it's Sag Harbor brand. Probably at least sixty.

We stopped at a new-to-us fast food joint on the way home: Quiznos. I know that doesn't sound like much to any of you, but the Hinterlands is far enough out in the boondocks to simply not HAVE fast food so we were excited. Quizno's is a sandwich (as opposed to burger) place with the gimmick of toasted bread and they've been really pushing a smokehouse barbecue sandwich on television lately so I had to try the New Thing. Elizabeth, always a Jersey Girl at heart, got their version of a cheesesteak. Both were HUGELY full of meat; we took the majority home to share. What they call a cheesesteak isn't even remotely close to the real thing and their barbecue sandwich was pretty much like everyone else's sweetly sticky barbecue sandwich...but the novelty value made it a worthwhile endeavor.

Sunday's shopping wasn't nearly as pleasant. It was "just" the grocery but that was enough. I've started shopping at a new place which is slightly farther away but bigger with better produce and a more rapid stock turnover. All of which is good but I still don't know the layout very well yet which was the first handicap. The second handicap was waiting till nearly eleven to go: usually I'm out the door by nine but I had to wait to discuss meal planning with MIL and she wanted to hang out in her room on the phone most of the morning. So the store was not only confusing but crowded. I hate that. Doesn't matter if it's the pre-yard-sale crowd or the after-church crowd or both.

I schlepped up and down all the aisles at least once and most of them twice while still remaining completely uninspired. Had to search to find the PAM; at my other store it was with baking things. Bought the same huge pile of replacement stuff I buy every damned week but couldn't work up any great enthusiasm for upcoming dinners or anything else food-related and thought everything there looked like dreck. You know the feeling. The first good moment came while waiting at the checkout: I had time to read Entertainiment Weekly and realize that the big cover story on Project Runway was all stuff I'd previously read online thereby saving me the $3 impulse purchase had I been first to put my stuff on the belt.

It got more interesting: the front-end manager herself started to bag my metric fuckload of groceries. While she did, an old fat man schlepped himself over to the register next to mine and asked "where's the olive oil?" in the same tone my ducklings use when fighting over the TV remote. The very young girl he asked didn't know but wanted to help so she asked the boy at my register. They neither one knew for sure but thought it would "be with the rest of the oil...where's that?" The part that was interesting was how well the front-end manager ignored this whole conversation. Surely SHE knew where the olive oil was, no? The old man interjected "I want my olive oil!" and both cashiers were taken aback; that was when I, the ever-helpful enabler, commented "It's on the far end of Aisle Twelve; I was just looking myself." When they told the old man he snapped back "I don't want THAT olive oil; I want the olive oil ON SALE. You said you had olive oil on sale so now where is it?!?" He truly seemed to expect that girl to stop what she was doing and present him with a bottle, preferably on a cushion.

You'd think the front-end manager would have interjected at this point, wouldn't you? Her cashiers were stumped, she had an irate customer and probably knew all about the big olive oil sale, right? Wrong. The woman continued to pretend deafness and bag my groceries. It was the most amazing moment for me because I wanted badly to say, "hey, I think that guy needs your help" but it was my groceries she was bagging instead of being the manager...so of course I kept mum. Strange trip.

Monday made up for Sunday though--I had a successful shopping experience at Wal-Hell! To clarify: by "successful" I mean "did not have to squelch the overwhelming urge to commit felonious assault upon fellow patrons or felonious vandalism upon the premises." The secret? Show up at just past eight in the morning of the last day of a holiday weekend. Youngest Duckling is an early riser like I am so we hit the road at 7:40 and parked closer to that giant building than I thought would ever be possible. Once inside it was so empty that I didn't even mind the fact that the store had been completely rearranged--there were actually employees available to ASK where to find the girls' department. More than one, and none of them were scowling yet!

I learned from that shopping trip that unlike her big sister, Youngest Duckling IS a dress person. So much so that she announced her favorite color was no longer purple but pink just so she could wear her new dress on the first day of school since the teacher said "be sure to wear something that has your favorite color in it" in the getting-to-know-you letter. I also learned that the key fashion accessory for first-grade girls is an umbrella--who knew? Youngest dashed past two racks of jeans to get to a Care Bears parasol with which she slept last night.

Me, I plan to buy everything mail-order for the next six months.

*Nike.

** Twelve slim.

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