It started at Thanksgiving. Everyone I encountered was talking about Black Friday; where the deals were, what they wanted, what time they were getting up to get them. I had no desire to be at Walmart when the doors opened, with the shoppers who camped out for three days prior. However, I was visiting my sisters in Seattle, when Jane suggested Target at four am. I decided to do it at least once in my life.
I suddenly was a little bit excited. There seemed to be a palpable energy swirling in the air. We got to the parking lot which was unbelievably packed and waited for a space to open up. Jane spotted two lone people running to their car and laid on the gas, screeching as we pulled up to guarantee the space. We ran towards the door more to get out of the rain than to grab the advertised deals.
“Jane, hey!” Seriously, my sister ran into someone she knew shopping at four in the morning at Target. Ridiculous. It was hard to meander throughout the store like I usually enjoy, because there were stantions around the entire perimeter …to keep the animals at bay. I actually saw a woman hovering over bins with gloves for one dollar next to her already overflowing cart, while her husband manned the second dolly, I kid you not, piled high with two flat screen TV’s, four boxes of peripherals and a multitude of games.When an employee walked buy pushing a gurney with new games, the man jumped into the aisle and asked him if he could take four more boxes off the haul.
It was getting so hot, I slowing started peeling off the layers as waves of dizziness overtook me. I was beginning to not feel so well, but soldiered on to videogames, as I wanted to get the nephews a few that were on sale for insanely cheap prices. Surprise! There were none left. The bins that normally held hundreds of titles were sold out. Completely.
We agreed to make our way to the checkout line, following the arrows placed on the floors like the yellow brick road. That was fun. We kept walking and walking until we realized we had traipsed the perimeter of the entire store. That’s right, the line was around the store. Jane asked a boisterous couple how long they had been waiting. Over an hour, and they seemed to be only at the half-way mark. There was no way either one of us was going to wait in line for two hours, if we were lucky, for slippers, notebooks and a couple of board games.
It was disappointing, if only because this was supposed to be a fun adventure and we felt a bit deflated. We drove by a few other astonishingly crowded stores, and settled on JoAnn Fabrics for some craft items. How crowded could that be? The answer is, not at all. There were at best, sixteen women in line waiting for the doors to open. Since it was still raining, we waited in the car until the sale commenced. No rushing the doors, no pushing other hunters out of the way, no grabbing items off the shelves. Just a polite, genteel early morning of shopping. When we entered, the greeter asked us to wait a second while she got our scissors. I turned to Jane and naively asked if we had to cut our own fabrics for the sale. Why no! We were one of the first 100 people and got a brand new pair of scissors as a door prize. YAY.
I piled my Martha Christmas and Halloween sale items into the basket and got into line. Dolores greeted us with a huge, red-lipsticked smile and lots of retail cheer. She was fantastic; rhinestone bracelets, a multi-colored Christmas tree pin at her neck, and five gigantic glittery flowers adorning her beehive hairdo. Dolores made this all worthwhile.
Then came the Christmas sales, followed by after Christmas sales, then best deals of the year sales, and now the half-yearly sales spectaculars. I am a shopper chick and even I can’t bear it.
What I really long for is simply Shoe Sunday.
When I got out of college and moved to New York I got a job in the buying division of Bloomingdale’s. I thought it was going to be a glamourous chic New Yorker career position. I ended up spending much of my early time there in the basement counting Calvin Klein men’s underwear, while listening to a Lionel Ritchie cassette tape on my Sony Walkman. I was in men’s dress accessories, and though I wasn’t into the product, my co-workers were lovely. Especially the Cornell educated, dark curly-haired buyer. But even he wasn’t cute enough to make me want to stay in that department.
I finally got transferred to Young East Sider, where I reveled in Sonya Rykiel, Norma Kamali, Kenzo, and Michele Lamy. I loved the department, though my Long Island raised, obnoxious, childish, egotistic buyer left much to be desired. This was around the time that Bloomingdale’s decided to open on Sunday’s. Every assistant in the buying division was required to work at least one Sunday a month. To avoid mutiny, they gave you fifty extra dollars in your paycheck and a fifty- dollar gift certificate. Keep in mind I was only making 14,000 a year!
Most people didn’t want to work on Sundays, as they commuted to Jersey or just had better things to do. I on the other hand, was happy to pick up shifts because I decided since it was technically “free” money I hadn’t counted on, the funds would be earmarked for shoes. I also got a hefty thirty percent off, so if I picked up even one extra Sunday that was two hundred and fifty dollars for shoes. If I picked up two, that was four hundred, and you could get some killer pumps for that at that time. Soon everyone knew they could come to me to pick up their Sunday shifts, which now became known officially as Shoe Sunday.
On one such Shoe Sunday, I acquired the most delectable alligator green Maud Frizon cut out pumps. They were to die for. I wanted to be a fashionable New York chick, so I bought a green wool Tahari dress to match, and cut off my incredibly long beautiful hair to have the short choppy doo everyone was sporting. I went to Bumble & Bumble and had a hairdresser who I now think was a shampoo girl, if she even actually worked there, cut my hair. She decided to perm it, even though I have very wavy hair. I looked like a natty French poodle. I remember going home and trying to wash it out, not realizing I made it way worse. I wore gel in my hair all winter long, but still felt like I rocked it because on my feet were the Maud’s.
As my hair grew back so did my personality, and I moved towards funkytown again. I started acting classes at night and on weekends frequented cool clubs. The flat super soft leather pirate boots in a myriad of pastel colors that looked like sand art, partnered with leggings and a washed silk jacket by Kenar took me to the after-work pick up joints, but on weekends it was all about neon and CBGB’s. I was obsessed with Norma Kamali, and I HAD TO HAVE the two tone suede black lace up boots to wear with my hot pink suede “outfit” which included huge fuschia geometric earrings,bright pink lipstick, tons of makeup and splatter paint gloves, which I still own. Not to mention the sneaker boots and black and white wedge heels that I partnered with the exact same fabric pants and gloves, topped with a neon green shiny jacket. I would give anything to have that whole mess now!
I left Bloomingdale’s to waitress and try my hand at acting, but I always missed the excitement of Shoe Sunday.