Tuesday, July 3, 2007

He shops, she shops

I hate shopping. Malls make me tired, restless and impatient. Choices leave me miffed. Trying on clothes and shoes is an ordeal. Retail overdose makes me claustrophobic (I am the shop-around-the-corner kinda girl). So when I volunteer to shop with someone, it is a really big deal.

This weekend, I offered my services to the beau — he needed a clothes rack and some groceries (to finally inaugurate his new microwave, on which his only successful experiment was making Act II popcorn). Now the difference between the beau and me when it comes to shopping is the difference between multiplication and subtraction. So while I was looking at items ‘on the list’, he was enjoying the wanderlust…

He actually contemplated a 20s pack of toilet roll which had a special offer of ‘buy one get one free,’ at which point I had to intervene and tell him it was a bit excessive. “But it’s cool no? Think about it, we don’t have to worry about toilet rolls for a year!” Shudder…

At the billing counter, I noticed the trolley was pregnant with a hundred things I hadn’t picked and he had slipped them in while I wasn’t looking. There were varieties of cheese spread, a hundred cheese slices, cartons of juice(that I have never seen him drink), cookies, doughnuts and croissants (that never get eaten), pasta sauces, self-serving pasta bowls encased in wicker baskets (which he thought was really cool, I can’t fathom why) toothpastes, air fresheners galore. And the only item he really needed was not available, to his glee, and my chagrin.

The fact is, the beau loves being surrounded by things he doesn’t need. He has over 200 Play Station games of which he has opened nine (and he is threatening to buy more). He has a hundred t-shirts and he still wears the same one (or what appears to be the same) every time I meet him. He has an assortment of colognes he never uses, juices and sodas he doesn’t drink, snacks and savouries he doesn’t eat, but ‘just in case someone comes over.’ There are DVDs unopened, books unread, clothes unworn—some of which he doesn’t know the origin of.

I remember the rare occasions when my dad would take me shopping for ‘that Diwali dress” or something equally inane. He would stand at the door puffing his cigarette, and say, “One, two, three, go finish it off” and leave me to my devices. And if I ever liked two dresses instead of one, he would say, “Just take both, so we don’t have to come back again for your birthday!”

Ditto when I went mall shopping with my brother in the States. Costco was his mecca. It’s is the kind of place that monster families with twelve kids should shop at. Not single men who do their laundry when they run out of clothes to wear. So, if you need one set of batteries, you buy a pack of 20, because it’s a bargain. If you need muesli, you buy six of them. If you need detergent or fabric softener, shampoo, toothpaste, or even toothbrushes, you buy them for the whole neighbourhood. I could never understand why my brother had to drive ten miles to shop for things he didn’t need when he could get them at the super market next door. The reason? I am not sure. But may be there is a thrill in knowing you have struck a good bargain, even if it is for things you don’t really want.

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