I suffer from a malady which may or may not be shared by others: Whenever I enter a store, I am overcome by exhaustion as soon as I cross the threshold. The symptoms are particularly acute with major department stores such as Bloomingdale's, which is probably the prime offender. The big B presents a brilliantly lighted, dizzying kaleidoscope of displays that can easily cause vertigo or even mal de mer. In general, I make a beeline for the escalator to the third floor, home of the so-called "bridge collections." These are generally quality, mass-produced garments which, while not inexpensive, do not fall into the rarefied categories displayed on the fourth, or designer, floor. I zoom past the sale racks, only then heading for the few designers appropriate to my age, height, and lifestyle. But I can't spend more than 15 or 20 minutes before virtual collapse is imminent. I know others who can go on with this for hours. Unbelievable.
Another phenomenon absolutely incomprehensible to me is the usually cowed-looking husbands or boyfriends, who either accompany women shoppers or sit dejectedly on the (very) few seats scattered about the store. I can't imagine any man doing this, unless he's footing the bill, and as a totally independent, self-supporting woman, I can't imagine that, either.
At least, wandering employees have stopped spraying passing shoppers with unwanted scents; apparently some people were allergic and potential lawsuits loomed. I am only psychologically allergic; glad this practice appears to have ceased. The general din and confusion of major department stores and, from my limited observation, shopping malls in general are probably designed to confuse people so much that they spend more than they intended. Of course, at this moment, we do need to keep money in circulation, as various old family members used to say.
And yet, and yet...I may drop into Bloomy's today on my way to a dance concert, as I need some household items which may possibly be on sale there. Haven't been in there in months, so if I'm never heard from again, you'll know that I was eaten alive or trampled to death.
Later: Interesting fact: Bloomingdale's no longer carries 50 percent cotton/50 percent poly bed sheets—only 100 percent cotton, and luxury labels at that. A salesgirl informed me that if I wanted the more plebeian type of sheets I would have to go to Macy's. I asked, "Who wants to iron sheets?" She replied, "They have maids." Well! Bloomingdale's was not the zoo it usually is on a Sunday; relatively few shoppers. I guess the reports about declining retail sales are indeed a fact. Next stop: Macy's, but not today.