Shopping: High street, mall, wherever

At the Shops by Tom NashMy idea of shopping is working out what I need, going to the shops that sell what I need, buying the stuff I need, then fucking off home. It’s simple really.

However, I’m in a relationship with a lady-person that enjoys nothing more than spending a day wandering around shopping centres and malls looking at shoes. I’m often called into bag carrying duty and tend to pass the time by checking out who else is about. People like:

The shop assistant
Well yes, they are a given, smart-arse. You get two kinds; the ‘too keen’ and the ‘only interested in my staff discount’.

Note to the ‘too keen’: if you asked if we want help and we said ‘no’, fuck off. Don’t lurk nearby like the Korean lady in Menace II Society, O-Dog ended up shooting her, remember? Although, saying that, you are much preferable to the ‘staff discount’ lot, who treat every customer like a personal insult.

I’m sure you did drink a lot the other night and I’m sure your orange friend at the next till is happy to listen to you list off the amount you drank like it’s an achievement worthy of praise, but just let me pay so I don’t have to hear you any more. It’s bad enough that I know you exist now.

The Topman (or other generic high street shop) advert
You’re more likely to find this lad in smaller towns where the shopping choices are limited. You spot them on the high street and notice that everything they are wearing was on the mannequin in the shop you were just in. Apart from their semi-professional footballer haircut… That’s the same as all of their mates.

The middle-aged lady
I haven’t quite worked this one out yet, but what I have ascertained so far is they exist to stop randomly, walk in to people they haven’t noticed and hold conversations with other middle-aged ladies in the middle of busy pavements.

You know the lady in front of you at the checkout that seems to forget that transactions aren’t completed till you PAY and when she remembers spends half an hour rooting through her ridiculously big handbag for her teeny tiny purse, in the process holding up everyone else in the queue? Yeah, that’s her.

The husband or boyfriend
Can usually be found, laden with bags, a few steps behind a woman that is browsing the racks, looking bored. They are often spotted hanging around the fitting room area or anywhere inside a shop where there is somewhere to sit. Tense shoulders and eyes straight ahead are a dead giveaway if you happen upon them in the ladies’ undercrackers section.

The teenage boy and his mum
He’s in his fitted cap and hoodie, bopping about like he’s got stones in his shoe. He’ll probably have a face on him like a five year old who’s dropped their ice cream as well. He’d look really fucking hard if he wasn’t with his mummy. And his name wasn’t Tim or Julian or something. And he wasn’t in the supermarket bit of Marks and Spencer.

Perspective’s a wonderful thing.

Admittedly you don’t meet this lot in shopping centres and malls, they tend to be friends of friends you meet at parties that harp on about working in ‘retail’ and make it out to be as worthy and challenging as aid relief in war-torn third world countries. Fuck off, you just work in a shop.