I was out shopping yesterday, when I saw the oddest thing: a young mother, carrying a baby in one arm and a dog in the other arm. While attempting to shop. And talk on a cell phone.
The kicker to this all? We were at TJ Maxx.
It might be one thing if I saw this in an upscale department store in Orange County. Or Vegas.
But seriously–a TJ Maxx in St. Louis? Who are we trying to kid here?
I tend to think that you should only bring your dog shopping with you for one of the following reasons:
A) You actually need a service dog
B) You have enough money to pay for whatever your dog urinates on with cash
C) You’re shopping for your dog (which puts you in a class of your own–a special one, where they have cute little white jackets just for you)
This serious breach of petiquette only served to remind me of the other very odd things I’ve seen while at shopping malls…
While shopping at a Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa, California, I saw two mothers literally run across the store towards the designer jeans display and smash their strollers (babies inside!) headlong into each other. The babies screamed while the women swore at each other. I stood and watched from a few feet away, horrified and slightly amused that neither one of the women even bothered to check and see if her crying baby had been harmed in the head-on collision.
While shopping at the Galleria in St. Louis a few months ago, I spotted a family of albino African-American women. They had pink eyes and everything. I felt a little like I was trapped in a strange M. Night Shyamalan movie, and that any minute a fantastical creature would come soaring out of the rafters and disappear into thin air (which would probably make a more cohesive story line than The Happening, really).
As a high schooler shopping at a mall in Minnesota, I had a very creepy sensation that someone was watching me as I piled up my arms with sale clothing from the teen department. I furtively glanced around, and noticed a middle-aged blonde woman watching me like a hawk. Disregarding my personal safety for the sake of fashion, I ducked into a dressing room to try on the clothing I had acquired. I tried everything on, and had carefully organized the clothes I was planning to buy onto one hook. Leaving my shoes and clothes, I walked out of the dressing room stall and grabbed another size of the shirt I was wearing. When I returned–less than a minute later–I found all of the clothes I had just tried on gone.
Of course, not being the type of person that gives up easily, I staked out the dressing room in a fury and waited until the blonde woman stepped out herself to grab another size. Then I stole all my clothes back and ran across the store to another dressing room.
A few years ago, I saw Dennis Rodman walking through the Spectrum in Irvine, California. He was dressed in bright purple with a gigantic fur-rimmed hat, and had about a dozen screaming children running around him–each bouncing a basketball and weaving around other people in the outdoor shopping center. The outfit itself would’ve been weird on its own–but the screaming basketball-playing munchkins were the icing on the cake.
I was shopping with my friend Kelsey once in Minnesota, when we heard the store alarm go off and saw a man sprinting out the door. The saleswoman helping us–a young blonde girl–almost started crying as she realized it was an attempted burglary. Store security guards immediately ran over, and found a black garbage bag packed to the brim with expensive designer purses totaling several thousands worth of dollars–which prompted me to wonder exactly how a twenty-year-old guy spent enough time in the purse department to gather up all these purses without attracting attention, and how not a soul noticed him dragging a gigantic trash bag all the way from one side of the store to another.
After watching the frustrated security guards attempting to pump the useless store clerk for descriptions of the would-be thief, I finally gave them a complete head-to-toe description of the man, including the color of his shoes, clothes, and the design on his hat. I guess that’s one time when my overactive, hyper-aware people-watching radar actually paid off.
Sometimes I wonder how writers and directors get ideas for their zany characters. Apparently, one needs to go no further than the local mall in order to get a veritable cornucopia of different case studies.
Oh, the stories I can tell my grandkids someday…