Sunday, March 22, 2009

Comfort Food

  • On Friday, I spent six or seven hours en route from San Diego thanks to two solid stops in Phoenix and El Paso. I read a whole fat book cover-to-cover and knocked out 50 pages of another. Late discovery -- books are what to read when flying. Flights a millisecond over two hours long usually make me nuttybuckets, but not this time.
  • We will have two kinds of macaroni and cheese at our wedding. Now you know where to find me.
  • For some reason, I never got around to seeing "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" until about last night. Whoa, way dirtier than I ever imagined, and that was 1982. Did the whole above-40 population just have one huge collective stroke after it came out?
  • Jeff Spicoli = the best character basically ever. Mr. "Mystic River" playing a stoned surfer just makes me all kinds of happy. "Aloha, Mr. Hand."
  • I want the macaroni and crab cakes and smoked salmon-y stuff now, please. This menu printout I'm looking at is torture. Or Torte-ture. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome to Anthropologie. Can I Help You Steal Anything?

So, I like clothes. I enjoy the process leading up to the purchase more than the transaction itself, and I'm picky. Usually, by the time I step up to pay, I've already inspected, tried on, and turned down enough fabric to cover Delaware. Shopping is my me-time. I keep phone conversations brief and sparse, because this is serious stuff people. (Note to large families/entourages at Fashion Valley: I'm begging you and your 10-person brood. Please. Walk. Faster. I'm trapped.)

Society tells betrothed females that there's about 87 showers/parties/rehearsals/showers/miscellaneous occasions/showers that necessitate the New Dress. ("Society" consists of the editorial people at D Weddings magazine and my mom.) Last Saturday, I set off on what I'd hoped would be my last Operation Find Miscellaneous Wedding Event Dress mission. She would be named Miss Rehearsal. I won't lie, this wasn't the first, or fifth, time I had searched for Miss Rehearsal, but I'm down to the proverbial wire here. My first stop, as usual, was Anthropologie.

O, my beloved Anthro. You've inspired me so much over the years. I remember the first time we met at the Santa Monica Promenade. It was the summer after freshman year in college and I was stuck in L.A. with Lindsey and Amy. We were trying to fly to Hawaii on free standby tickets over July 4th weekend. (P.S. Who does that?) We never made it aboard, but it mattered not. I had found you. Lindsey bought a $400 comforter from you, I a dainty headband. You made me want to be a better pseudo-hippie.

I walked in with a bounce in my step and and a heartful of hope. My bounce was siphoned by the salesgirl, who zoned in on me with the determined swoop of a vulture on a dead rabbit.  Initial thoughts: "OMG, she looks like Lauren Conrad," followed by, "why is she violating my personal space?" Then I noticed the teeny Anthro logo on one of my bags. She asked me if I had a return.  I considered going into detail about how I was just matching some shoes and this was the only bag I could find with handles, they really should make more bags with handles, and OMG that shirt is so cute, but instead I just smiled cordially and said "No thanks." She hesitated for an few seconds and said "Umm. ... Oh." I could tell she was annoyed, but what could I do or say short of emptying the contents of the bags out on the floor? I kept shopping, wondering if I hadn't seen the last of L.C.'s twin. That's when I saw her summon backup.

I know stores lose millions of dollars a year to shoplifting. I'm on your team, shoplifters suck. I understand if you need to take the bags behind the register, check receipts, or do anything to quell your suspicion that you're in the midst of a thief who intends to stuff three bags with merchandise in plain view while you call Crimestoppers. But please stop staring at me.

These salesgirls seemed to have trained under the "stalk-and-stare-and-analyze-over-headphones-you-forgot-were-on-speaker" school of thought. Maybe they used Dale Carnegie's lesser known "How to Lose Customers and Influence People (to Boycott Your Store)." I felt so uncomfortable that I began to move around a lot, as one does when faced with swarms of gnats that won't go away, or a wasp that follows you on your bike for three blocks. I felt dirty.

In accessories, I turned around to find six beady eyes congregated a couple of yards behind me. I could smell their shampoo. Each wore a contemplative expression suggesting they were plotting their next move, which I assume involved a taser. And then, the injustice in my soul gave overflowed and turned into actual words from my mouth. You know the threshold between simmering frustration and disgust? Yeah I skipped it. I'm not sure exactly what I said except "Are you kidding!?" and stormed the h out as they stood there in utter girl-shock. 

I'm curious as to Anthropologie's shoplifter profiling criteria. Yoga pants? A fleece jacket? THIEF! My only relevant experience came at age 5 when I took a Brach's peppermint from Minyard's without depositing a nickel. Overcome with guilt, I tearfully confessed to my mom and then to the manager the next day. He told me he forgave me and added that Jesus probably would too, if I was good for the rest of the year. I think he confused Jesus with Santa Claus.

I probably won't stop shopping at Anthropologie. I will, however, write an artificially rational complaint letter to their corporate using primarily "I" statements, like "I felt dirty when your snobby salesgirls whispered audibly that I was trying to steal things." Next time, I guarantee I'll dress more uppity but carry the same bags, and see if my perceived credit limit doesn't ebb their suspicions.