Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Great Temple of Materialism

They looked so great in the catalog and on line. A pair of light tan Land's End sandals with a touch of green, perfect match to my new swim shorts I also ordered from the same place. Would look great and be just what I needed for my upcoming Nica trip. So, the order was placed and after the delivery drama, I got to try them on.

Fit great, comfy as hell. But the color... a little too light tan and the green made them look...well feminine. I even looked back in the catalog to see if per chance I accidentally ordered a ladies' shoe, but no that was not the case. I kept them for a few days and decided that I just did not like the color. The problem with online buying is high cost of shipping returned items. I could take them to a Sears store to return but living in the middle of the city means no Sears right around the block.

Sometimes, you just gotta say WTF. It was time to get out of the Palace. So Thursday eve, Her Majesty and I got the Queen Mary fired up and headed to the mall.

I had not been to the great temple of materialism for quite sometime. Our local temple is Costco, certainly not as colorful as a big mall. We headed to Independence Center, out east of town, a mall I knew well. The last time I was at a mall was last November with my sister in Illinois, battling the crowds on Black Friday.

Back in the day, I spent a lot of time and money there. When the kids came to town, it was an obligatory visit to the mall to eat at the food court, shop, play games and waste time. Seems that 10 years later it is not much different.

Physically the place had not changed much, many of the same stores were there, some had left, the big carousel was still in the center. The Jones Store had become Macy's, another victim of the recent buyout when Macy's parent decided to trash local names like The Jones Store Company here in KC, Marshall Fields in Chicago and L. S. Ayres in Indianapolis, names synonymous with quality shopping.

Exchanging the shoes took less than 1/10th the time it took me to get to the place. Thus I walked the mall, watching the people, some shopping, others socializing. Like the central business districts of old, the mall is often a social as well as an economic center.

Wandering through Jones.. I mean Macy's, I avoided the roaming clerks as I was not in the market for anything. Nothing offered really interested me. I do not need watches, clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc like I used to accumulate. I would rather save my money and not accumulate so much crap that ultimately becomes worthless, the fabulous glass vase reduced to 25cents on the rummage sale table and finally sent to the Thrift Shop.

Thus a few circuits, I was done. Going home empty handed. Let the young pay jacked up prices for cheap made t-shirts at Abercrombie or whatever is hot today (see what I know??)or let the new home owner look at $1000 washer and dryers. Happy with my old Queen Mary and my dear Puggles, I headed back home. Everything I needed already there.


Anonymous said...

Wow, where to start. Here's three sites to check out:
The Consumerist
The Simple Dollar
Dlisted (I'm just throwing this in)

Living a hermetic life myself, my need for clothing never veers far from a new pair of sweatpants and a quality sweatshirt once every 6-7 years. However, I do shop with Renee, and with her being a size 14-16 depending on the brand, the lack of choice is shocking.

If you're a woman who wears size 5 or lower, then fashion is your friend, and retailers shower you with broad choices, sharing the couture at every turn. Everyone above size 12 must settle for frumpy — and in lime green or holy-hell orange. Or so it seems.

Malls don't cater to males, unless you count wearing a $150 authentic sports jersey as clothing. Being older than 14, I don't. For guys like myself, whom middle age has treated his body shape with extreme prejudice against sexiness, there are no pants above a 42" waistline.

Costco, btw, is fantastic. Great owner, well-run. Do you realize that Costco is about the only retailer to make a profit every quarter of its existence — even in Bush's 30s economy!

The real reason I shop with Renee is that I want to make sure she's buying quality clothes, clothes she'd wear. So much on the rack is thrown-together Chinese junk. The concept of a stay-stitch doesn't exist in China.

What was I talking about?

Losing it. Oh well, just visit the sites above for a little consumer relief.

Nevis said...

I love Lands End products but I know what you mean about things in person looking different than in pictures...fustrating!

Don said...

Welcome to my little blog Nevis. I love Land's End stuff. Their shoes for men, especially the "Tracker" line is great. The problem with my purchase is that when I saw them in person, the color just looked wrong for me. They were comfy as hell and I am sure as well made as their other items.