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Friday, September 05, 2008

Shop by numbers

Like a fool, I went to Macy's (excuse me, Macy*s) today to take advantage of their one day sale, which was technically two days. I had a simple objective: buy a couple of pairs of pants and a few dress shirts for my new job, which starts in a couple weeks. This is a very auspicious occasion, as it marks my triumphant return to a regular income and adulthood itself. So what better way to mark the event than to battle hordes of bargain-crazed shoppers for the last Fitted Wrinkle-Free Large Satin Stripe in all of Manhattan?

I wandered all over the store, up and down the rickety old wooden escalators, until I made it to the Mens Department. Recently the New Yorker had an article on how department stores deter shoplifters, and they noted that men shopping by themselves automatically raise a red flag among security personnel, since men are typically not avid shoppers. As I wandered through the store I tried to look as inconspicuous as possible, which actually made me sweat a little bit, which probably really reassured the thugs in the security camera room of my good intentions. (It actually reminded me of what I learned about false imprisonment for the bar exam, where a common scenario is when shopkeepers detain suspected thieves; good thing I know my rights as a law school graduate and bar exam applicant!)

The actual dress shirts section of the store was a madhouse, predictably. Hordes of people tussling among piles of shirt wrapped in plastic, clutching at the bags, reading the numbers furiously, then tossing them aside. Some people were actually just sitting on the floor, looking for their numbers, like sad old bingo players. I tried to stick with my standard exciting sartorial palette of blue and white, and was blindly picking shirts based on my collar size a year ago, on the assumption that my neck fat has not really increased since then. After I had wrestled four shirts away from some New Jersey moms and an old lady in a wheelchair, I descended to the pants section.

Compared to the mind-boggling array of options in the pants section, the many varieties of shirts seemed about as different as prison uniforms. I knew I wanted flat front pants, since I've heard pleated pants are uncool. But do I want straight leg? Is "relaxed fit" a signal for dumpy-butted people? I couldn't remember. Fearful that I would end up prancing into the office in flared jeans or capri pants, I sought out the familiar shelter of the Dockers area. I managed to find two pairs of their super premium khakis, the ones in a variety of somber colors with a stiff sheen of professionalism. These are not the ratty khakis I slouched around in as a preppy undergrad; these are khakis that say, "I probably have a Blackberry."

So I came home without actually trying anything on, by selecting items by the numerical sizes I already had. I figure I can try things on at home and get L's approval, or else we'll both return to sort it all out. I couldn't spend any more time in there, and I am not going back there alone.

2 comments:

Ryan, Kristen & Lacy said...

well, now you've done it...now you definitely need a blackberry to go with the chinos.

MKD said...

See, "chinos" is a very professional word that I hadn't even considered before. So, THANK YOU.