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December 29, 2008
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Went to the mega mall in the Hammer the other day and just about went postal. Here we were, three full days after Christmas and the parking lot was like NASCAR on steroids. People were jockeying for parking places, cruising around as if lost and displaying road rage at the drop of a hat or package! I asked myself, How can these people have any money left to spend after Christmas?

I ended up parking in no - mans land somewhere in the parking lot boonies. The mall looked really small from that distance. I was kind of glad I dropped my son and his friend off at the mall entrance. They would have bitched about the trek confronting  me!

Walking from the car to the mall was like dodging stampeding bulls, as cars bore down on you from every direction. I swear they were determined to kill you before you got into the mall before them and copped all of their deals. Those sweaters are mine, you mother!

The inside of the mall was even worse. Frenzied shoppers filled every store to overflowing. Womens eyes were glazed over as their husbands trailed them like zombies. The young folk were in packs of roving bargain hunters.

Chaos, you betchya!

I had two missions on my honey-do list – exchange my daughters jeans and buy her the fourth book in the Stephanie Meyer Vampire series. Simple, straight forward and doable!

Well, Hollister had a 50 % off sale and was busier than an ant hill at a picnic. The first young lady I encountered with my problem (getting one size smaller -7/8) pointed her finger and said, Look over there under the red hoody for that style! She said it as if I was challenged or something.

Hell, Hollister has racks and racks of jeans coming out their ying yang! And, guess what, there was nothing under that hoody that remotely resembled what I carried in the bag.   (And who the hell fits into a size zero anyway?)

Shaking and paralyzed with fear, I slithered back out into the mall to call the good wife for some advice.

Get back in there, she said. Its simple. Just find a similar style in the right size and exchange it! Now shes starting to sound like that mean finger pointer. You know the one, she thinks Im challenged.

Now I know that finding the right jean for my beautiful daughter will be like finding a needle in a denim haystack. But like a good trouper, I head back in to do battle. The girl with the finger gives it to me again, but I drift by her casually, head high, trying to hide my shopping deficiencies. Within a minute, another gal steps to the plate and asks, Can I help you, sir? She smiles at me like I remind her of her grandfather or something. OK, I can go with that.

I give her the rundown on my jean dilemma. I think shell realize why Im wandering aimlessly in a store populated by teenagers and their mothers. Dont worry, she says. Ill just look in the back for that size for you.

In a voice that reaches a pitch higher than I can remember, I say, OK, Ill just stand right here and wait for you!

Now, if youve ever been in one of these stores you know all of the young ladies appear as if theyre attending a cleavage convention. Theres more skin here than on Rosie ODonnels backside. One false move and something is surely to fall out.  Where the hell do I look?

Suddenly I feel like a 58 year old pervert. I flip open my cell phone, avert my eyes and act like Im texting someone. I decide to turn and face the wall and realize Im in the undergarment section!

Egads!

Well to make a long story short, the young lady returns empty handed but searches the entire store likes shes on a mission for her . . . grandfather! She finds the elusive jeans that are, Very close to the ones you brought in, sir!

As sweat beads form on my forehead I amble over to the sales desk, hoping to get the hell out of here quickly and efficiently.

But alas, my cell phone rings again. Its number two son, Josh. Dad, youve got to come up to Hollister. Theres and incredible sale. 50% off and I need money!

Ah, well, Im in the store now,I reply. I see Kevin, my sons six foot three friend trying on ball caps.

Josh shuffles over and says, If you buy me these shirts, Ill pay you back!

Wait just a minute! I complain. You brought your bank card!

You see Ive been up this road before with my little Wimpy and his hamburger ploy.

He says, But dad, you know I dont like using my bank card in stores! You see the lad has a password, button pressing phobia when it comes to transactions.

I say, Give me the card!

So what do I do? I trudge through the meandering masses to the bank machine to withdraw the boys cash. Oh ya, theres a big long line to contend with.

Then, after all of this, I bag the pants, and we split up again and agree to meet in forty-five minutes. PHEEEEEEW!

Im on to Assignment #2 – find that book, Breaking Wind, or whatever its called. But crap, the book store is at the other end of the mall about three hundred miles away.

Just as I get up to speed my cell phone rings again. Its Josh saying, Dad, Kevin and I are bored. We want to leave now!

What? # $ %@&#@ %!I cry.

Well, when I catch up with the boys I can see why theyre bored. They each have a bag full of Hollister loot – theyve spent all of their money, so theyre thinking, Why even look now? The art of window shopping has been lost on this generation, Im afraid!

Ya, Dad, the deals were great, eh! Josh continues. But, we felt like girls in that store, looking through every pile and every rack, one thing at a time! Ive never been in one store so long.

Yes, I do believe its time to leave the mall. We didnt come here for the boys to explore their feminine side, did we.

The walk to the vehicle is an adventure onto itself. No mans land seems miles away. The winter winds are howling at 60 miles per hour now, so the flesh on our faces is freezing fast, and there are more cars to dodge. Finally, we plunk ourselves down in the vehicle and Kevin blurts, Oh, geez, well have to go back to the mall, I left my bank card in the store!

What? # $ %@ & #@ %!I cry.

Just kidding,Kevin says, amid a chorus of teenage giggles from the backseat.

But heres the kicker. Today I ask my daughter how those new jeans are doing and here is what she says. Well, Dad, I really dont think theyre my style. Theyre not me. I think Ill have to take them back!

What? # $ %@ & #@ %!I cry.

Geez, Dad, you sound like a challenged person!

So, thats enough Mall Mania for me. I aint goinback there, no way, no how! Next time  Ill leave these tasks to the professional shoppers in my house. The only way youll get me out to shop is if youre heading to the liquor store, pal!

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