2.218 writers, fopal

Tuesday 07/13/2021

Did the cardio class. Then worked on STIP-IP until time for the writers group. The cue was “In which I go shopping.” This was an easy one because just a few days ago I had had a shopping experience. I will put the piece at the end here. I read it well and was interrupted by laughter several times.

From there I went to FOPAL where about 7 boxes of computer books awaited, of which I ended up shelving half a box, the rest off to the $1 room.

In which Mister Grumpy goes to Macy’s for the last time ever…

A simple need for a simple man: due to normal attrition in the underwear drawer, I am one brief shy of a 14-day laundry cycle. I need a three-pack (because that’s how they come) of Jockey standard briefs, 36 waist. And by long habit I know just where to get them: second floor of Macy’s Men’s Store in the Stanford Shopping Center. So on a bright Wednesday morning I go over there.

And of course it isn’t there any more. What was Macy’s Men’s is now a construction site. I cross back to the main Macy’s, where “men’s” is now a mere department, and indeed one that is not called out on the store directory sign inside the door. I wander through the glittering bright maze of the Macy’s ground floor. A distant glimpse of a Tommy Hilfiger sign gives me direction and I stumble into an island of men’s wear.

There are no clerks or customer service people of any kind visible in this quarter of the huge store. I circle around until, quite by chance, I find the underwear display. There! A small rack of Jockey briefs. The three-packs are in disarray, with all styles and sizes jumbled. The packs are taller than the shelves in the display case, so they have to be forced in, bent double. I spend five minutes putting Macy’s display into a semblance of order until, on the third shelf, I find my prize, a three-pack of standard briefs, 36 waist. Success!

Or is it? I need to pay for it, but where? I look around; then I walk around the core of the vast, eye-dazzling sales floor. The only human beings I see are a few other customers. I see a distant exit door and briefly consider leaving with the goods, but the package has a fink tag attached and would raise an alarm. It is about this point when the thought first arises: “You could have ordered this from Amazon, you know.”

At length, near the perfumery, I see two women behind a counter, chatting with two women on my side. Each pair is having an engrossing talk, it seems. After a long minute I begin to follow. I’m not sure what the nearer pair is on about but several times the store lady asserts, “Well, I will be here on the 15th.” The third time she says this, I think, “Great, but are you here today?”

As these conversations are apparently interminable, I wander off, still looking for assistance. After another half circuit of the floor I spot a person behind a counter busy doing something obscure, and interrupt them to ask, “Can you check me out?” And they can! No, I don’t have a Macy’s card. No, I don’t want to have a Macy’s card. Just do the thing so I can hold my phone by the machine and let it pay you, thanks so much.

As I make my way to the far-distant exit door, which turns out to be the one on the side of the building opposite to where I would like to be — but I don’t mind as long as it gets me out — as I exit, I think with iron certainty, I will never enter this place again. If Amazon doesn’t sell it (and what do they not?) I will do without.

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