Thursday, 23 September 2010

Large shopping centre (mall) closure turns into adventure

Yesterday I was all set to visit the nearest large shopping centre so I could use my book voucher and money,  indulge in a little bit of window shopping and have coffee and cake at my favourite cafe.  The shopping centre is about 20 minutes drive from where I live' as the crow flies' and as I was about to turn into the parking lot, I noticed an electronic sign stating  the centre was closed.  IT'S NEVER CLOSED DURING THE DAY, EVER!!!  

I was annoyed, very annoyed to have made a special trip to the centre only to have it closed. (I since found out there was a burst water main in the area.)  I know I'm a bit of a wuss, but I do find going out an effort and I was cross because I was all dressed up with nowhere to go so to speak.  I'd  wasted petrol money and time.  Grrrrrrrr!  As I was feeling quite let down at the prospect of going home again, I suddenly hit on the idea of visiting an op. shop that wasn't too far out of the way on my drive home.

Op. shops are interesting places because sometimes you find nothing and other times you come home loaded with loot.
My first port of call upon entering  was the bric-a-brac shelves, you just never know what might be there.  The first thing that caught my eye was a lovely pale aqua blue stoneware casserole dish that would suit my kitchen decor beautifully.  I turned it over to view the price, discovered that it was made in England and the price tag was $24.99.  Not really my idea of an op. shop bargain so I put it down again.  I did come across a Pyrex bowl in perfectly good condition for $2.99.  (Not worthy of a photo.)   I snapped that up as you can never have too many bowls in my opinion.  On the odd occasion I decide to cook up a storm, I use so many bowls.

The next bric-a-brac shelf displayed all kinds of interesting bits and pieces, some of it quite nice, nothing I would use though.  And then I spotted a tin.  A tin you ask?  Well it was so cute and it had pictures (not photos) of Yorkshire countryside on it with sheep.   I love sheep, I grew up on a farm.  It had pictures of dry stone walls.  Hubby is making a dry stone wall at the entry of our property.  We had a holiday in Yorkshire as part of our U.K. visit nearly 22 years ago and I have a very soft spot for the countryside there.  Is that enough reasons for buying a cute tin I didn't need?  You bet!!  It was meant to be.  I just know I'll find a fantastic use for it.

So I moved on from bric-a-brac to the clothes section.  Where to start?   After having a good look,  I had draped over my arm two tops, a shirt, a dress, a pair of shorts and a pair of cut offs.  Juggling clothes with  pyrex bowls and cute tins is quite difficult, but I did manage.  Off to the change room I went, banging and clanging and trying not to trip up on the dress which was rather long.

The first problem to negotiate on entering the change room was closing the door.  Why oh why do op. shops insist on having a changing room with gap between the doors of about 2 centimeters, a big gap from above knee height to the floor and open air from just above your head to the ceiling?  I'm not too happy to share flashes of pale freckly flesh, a couple of spare tyres and cellulite legs to the world.  Apparently if you want bargains that is the price you have to pay. :-(

There was sign on the change room door advising customers not to take in more than four items of clothing  at a time.  I had six clothing items, plus bowl, plus tin.  There was only one hook on the wall which was just big enough to hold four hangers comfortably, five a bit of a squeeze and six, well you can guess.  I would have only taken in four items but there was no rack just outside the door to hang the other items on.  There were no slightly bored and unhelpful shop assistants waiting to hand the extra items to me when I was ready. It's an op. shop after all.  And anyway, what if someone came along and decided my bargains on the rack outside would suit them perfectly and ran off with them?  I'd be mighty unhappy.  I'm sorry op. shop people, my six items plus bowl, plus tin came in with me.

Here is a short list of things I learnt while in the change room.  Things I should have already known had I taken the time to think about it.

1.  Shorts and me don't work together anymore.
2. Cut offs with narrow and slightly tight waistbands aren't seemly and the cargo pockets on thighs make any self respecting  saddlebags look huge.
3.  Peruse garments very carefully while they are on the rack so as not to discover later there are holes and bleached patches on rolled up sleeves.
4.  Just because it looks nice on the hanger doesn't mean it will magically turn you into the svelte person you were 20 years ago, the person you'd like to be again without having to exercise and reduce calories.
  5.  Maybe the dress you love was in the height of fashion 10 years ago but it doesn't mean it's in fashion now despite the fact the fabric is really pretty and the colour suits you.  

So now it's time to exit the change room while valiantly trying not to make eye contact with anyone just in case they had the misfortune to see you through the 2 centimeter gap in the door.  The next task is to try and put the items of clothing not required back on the appropriate rack.  Of course I can never remember what came from where and there is still no slightly bored and unhelpful shop assistant offering to put things back.  So I'm sorry op. shop people if you found shorts with dresses, cut offs with tops, tops with jackets etc. I exaggerate of course.

O.k now it's time to part with money.  I usually like to banter with the person at the cash register because I think they must have a really boring job taking money from people.  I have found in my visits to op. shops there are increasing numbers of men helping out.  A year or so ago when I was visiting this very same shop, a very nice looking young  man was serving at the cash register.  In fact this particular young man was very much in the image of Robert Pattinson only better.  (Only if you like his type of course.)  I tried sooooooo hard not to keep staring at him and I don't believe I was very successful.  Unfortunately this was one of the days when browsing turned up nothing useful or interesting.  (Probably because I was distracted.)  AND NO, I DID NOT BUY SOMETHING, ANYTHING JUST SO I COULD GO TO THE CASH REGISTER TO BE SERVED BY PERSON BETTER LOOKING  THAN ROBERT PATTINSON.  I had no such luck yesterday.  Sigh!   The cash register person was male but much older and definitely not film star material.  He was very helpful though, cheerful and happy and Irish.  I do love a nice Irish accent.

So a missed chance at the big shopping centre turned into an op. shop adventure. What could be more fun than tripping over long dresses and looking for a Robert Pattinson look alike?  You decide!  :-) 

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