I’m not a fan of shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I like buying things, but preferably from the comfort of my computer. I find shopping online bearable; prices are easily compared, I can take my time and there are no crowds or rude shop assistants to contend with.
But take me to a Real Life shop, in a Real Life shopping centre, especially when there are Sales on and I quickly lose any enthusiasm I had for the task.
Today, we had to get out of the house.
DH and I are still unwell but the kids have cabin fever, so we decided to go out to the local shopping centre for lunch. DDs 2 and 3 have both outgrown most of their clothes so needed a couple of long sleeved tops and jogging bottoms/leggings (mine all hate jeans) to see them through. Surely we could just ‘pop in’ to H&M on the way to the food court?
The first problem came when we tried to prise the kids off the Wii, where they had been playing Skylanders Giants all morning. The squabbling had just crossed the line from normal sibling bickering to something approaching physical violence, DH had managed to drag himself out of bed and the dog walker had just picked up the hounds, so it seemed like the ideal time to make a move. Our offspring weren’t convinced; there was much yelling before they finally put their shoes and coats on and got in the car.
DD1 was in a strop the entire way to the shops because we’d told her she couldn’t bring a toy with her; this is a general rule on family outings but sometimes the kids try to pretend they’ve never heard of it.
‘They are wearing their hats’, she wailed, pointing at her smallest siblings in their plush animal headwear and trying to draw me into an argument about the line between clothing and toys.
At 11 years old, DD’s tantrums are far worse than they were when she was two, and she managed to sulk right through lunch while refusing to eat. I’m afraid my reaction to this was not very mature. In my defence, I am still feeling pretty sick
Once we’d finished scoffing our lunch, we popped in to our local Clarks to get four pairs of feet measured. DS needed new school shoes and trainers and DD2 needed new trainers but everyone else’s feet had stayed the same size. At this point we walked out into the mall and it was absolutely heaving with people lugging great bags full of stuff from shop to shop.
We elbowed our way to the nearest Currys, where we lost DS twice and DD3 almost knocked over one of the display TVs, then moved on to H&M.
We got about 6 steps in the door before I decided that we would not be clothes shopping there today. There were just far too many people in the shop already, the kids were ready to head in 4 different directions and DH looked pale when he saw the size of the queue. H&M stuff might be cheap but I don’t like it *that* much.
Opposite H&M was a pop up HMV. DH was delighted as it’s opne of the shops he loves to browse in but the way they have it set up makes it a nightmare with small kids. We were scarcely through the door before DS and DD2 had run off and DH and I spent a panicky 2 minutes searching for them. At this point, I’d had enough.
‘Back to the car’, I ordered. DD1 refused point blank and to be honest, I was only too pleased to leave her with her dad. So I rounded up the smaller three and herded them towards the lift, and the car at the top of the car park.
There were many, many cars driving around looking for spaces and I was vaguely aware that one was trailing us as we made way through the rain to our vehicle. I got everyone in the back, then put DS belt on for him, then we sat and waited for the others. After a couple of minutes there was a toot, and I noticed a car had pulled up alongside us and was blocking a row of cars behind it. One of the blocked cars squeezed passed and the driver started honking and shouting as he did so. The stopped car contained a woman who wound down her window and and asked if we could move. I said no, explaining we were waiting for other people.
‘ Well, can’t you wait elsewhere?’ she asked, grumpily.
‘No’, I replied, equally as snottily. She had hardly moved on around the corner when DH and Miss teen-in-training turned up, so I had the satisfaction of passing the driver as she sat waiting for another space to open up.
It says something when the highlight of your shopping trip is exiting the mall and gazing smugly at the huge line of cars trapped on the spiral entrance ramp.
As I said, I don’t like ‘real’ shopping.