Friday, January 8, 2010

Four Sales and Two Old Ladies

Every new year for the last couple, I've had a conversation with myself about living more consciously. Having children has definitely helped me weed out the embarrassingly frivolous (arrivederci Gucci shoes!) and focus on using less and spending less. Right now, though, it can't be helped and imperfect as I am, I capitulated to the urge to mega-shop. That's right - it's the SALE season in Madrid. Yesterday all the stores put all their winter merchandise at up to 50% off and it's loco on the streets of Madrid. In fact, I think the first day of the sale season must be an unofficial national holiday because despite the fact that it was sleeting and then snowing, the streets were bustling and there were lines, lines, lines. I admit it - I subjected my children to wind and snow in the name of a good deal, but I feel no shame and have no regrets and both stops were less than a 10 minute walk from home. First stop was ZARA kids and it was as if the shopping spirits were smiling over me. First, Sabine fell asleep in the stroller right away and we were in the store no longer than 5 minutes when I looked down and there was a 20 Euro bill. What? Lightening striking twice? Yippee. This time I didn't bother trying to find its rightful owner (Anyone lose 20 euros?!) and made a mental deal with myself to give it away gradually to people who need it (lots of pan-handlers in this town.) I quickly found what both girls could use (long pants, sweaters) and then got in line. Here's where the shopping spirits are less generous. Memo to Madrid dept. stores: Buy more cash registers. Are you kidding me? One register for the ENTIRE STORE? This is problematic even when the stores aren't teeming with deal-seekers, but during the sales it's torturous. I waited in line almost 30 minutes (twice the time it took me to find the items I bought) and then had to stand in front of the most annoying old lady ever. There I said it. Just because you're old (really, really old with a bad wig) does not mean you get a free pass to be a pain in the ass to every stranger you encounter. First, she was the most egregious offender of personal space invasion and most of the time I could feel her bags up against me and THEN she told Brodie (in Spanish, of course) that she was too old for the stroller. How do you say, um, let me see...shove it? This brings up another point I've been pondering: What age is too old to be strolled around? It does seem like most kids Brodie's age and size are walking around town, only infants are strolled. We've tried to make Brodie walk, but she refuses and cries. I suppose this is a better problem to have than the reverse, but at what point do you demand they walk? Anyway, back to shopping. We made one more stop at a cute French-based kid's chain called DP AM. Luckily we were in and out in less than 15 minutes and Sabine slept through the whole excursion. I thought I was shopped out, but alas this morning the siren sale song lured me to a few more tempting dens. At least it's sunny, but still colder than yesterday and very windy. As we raced to a little children's boutique in search of winter hats another little old lady stood firm in my pathway. I don't know what that's about, but this happens a lot here - it's a form of pedestrian chicken. Anyway, as we came upon her, I thought "out of my way lady, I'll run you down." I'm not kidding, that was my exact thought. So much for living consciously.


  1. Hilarious! I have been skipped in line many times by old ladies and think, "What the hell". I don't understand their logic, but I know I'll use it when I'm old. I can't wait to grumble at people or skip in line and then have it be accepted by everyone.

    Oh and I think being in a stroller is fine. I remember demanding my mom push me in the stroller too, I had to be 4 or older. We went shopping ALOT and frankly I didn't want to walk either.

  2. I'm sure I'll use the same logic, but for now I'll complain. My poor mom couldn't stuff me in a stroller or high chair to save her or my life, that's way worse!

  3. Hi Maria - one of Jordan's roommates here. I have to say, I was in Paris a few years ago during the big SALE - waited in line for hours for a silly sale sweater that I still wear, totally worth it.

    And your blog could be a book of short stories - thanks for writing, I love it.


  4. Hi Elizabeth! Yes, I agree it was worth the wait. Thank you for the kind support and big hug to Jordan. I miss that girl!