This weekend was all about shopping. For me, an unusual thing. Not because I don’t like to (I do) but usually between time, money, and the knack for never finding stuff I need when I need it, most of my wardrobe hasn’t changed much yet between school and being a young urban professional. But apparently my college roommates were going to a premium outlet in VA, so this seemed like a good opportunity to at least make a small dent at less cost than the retail stores in DC.
The outlet actually had a pretty good variety of stores, from Coach and Lacoste to Old Navy and Nike. I found that some of the stores had very limited selection, and some had clothes that I am pretty sure were leftovers from the year, but, hey, there were some good deals. I admittingly do not need to wear a suit and tie each day to work, so I was a bit less compelled to spend money on these items, but my friends both needed to add some quality and variety to their daily wear. In one roommate’s case, he took full adavantage, and I believe walked out with Tumi suitcase, a Coach belt to match a seersucker suit, a Coach wallet, a blazer, cufflinks, ties, shirts, a spring suit, a pair of wool slacks, a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, and I am sure countless other items I was not around to watch him buy.
Some highlights for me:
-I bought some Nike Dri-Fit tennis shorts in the Nike store, along with some socks, and…a #55 Georgetown jersey. They didn’t have any other jerseys in the store, so I thought it was cool they had Georgetown gear. It was priced down (at least from Gtown bookstore prices) and after discovering that a “Small” basketball jersey is in fact quite long, decided to buy it (hey, I figured it was the least I could do now that Roy Hibbert came back for his senior season). Annoyingly, the rest of the store included a plethora of UNC stuff or was Carolina blue. Bah.
-The Old Navy outlet store was ridiculous. Old Navy, along with Aeropostale, is already one of the least expensive places to shop, so I knew I could find some stuff. I walked out with four boxers for $14 total and a pair of board shorts for $7. Not bad.
-I ran into the jeans store, and after a quick scan realized this wasn’t going to be easy. All I wanted were nice blue jeans, nothing fancy, but the jeans all had intricate back pocket designs, cuts I had never heard of, and prices far out of my range. How great of a denim is this? Bulletproof? I asked the kid working behind the counter for help, since I didn’t understand the sizes (they seemed European or something). He promptly pointed out to me that I was in the women’s section.
As he led me to the men’s section, whose jeans frankly looked just as intricate as the womens’, he asked me where I was from. Wondering how this would help me select the perfect pair of jeans, I responded “DC”, to which he replied, “Where is your accent from?” Wait, I have an accent? “You speak funny”. Thanks. I don’t even have a Connecticut accent, although I wish I did have some sort of accent, that would be fun. So I guess it turns out I speak funny. My coworkers told me I did not have an accent, but did have a tendency to pause in odd places. Oh well. English truly is my second language then I guess.
-Jos. A. Bank had a sale in which shirts and ties were $10. Pretty sweet, although I already have more shirts and ties than I need. I did end up getting a navy balzer though, which was priced $200 below retail price. As I was trying it on in front of the mirror, one female customer walked by and said I looked very handsome, with a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Yes, yes, but what is your opinion on the jacket?
I ended up getting it, and as I was checking out my friend poointed out that the buttons looked very patriotic (they had some eagle insignia on them). I lamented that it didn’t have gold buttons like a traditional blazer might have, but commented that I liked the look. The man who had helped me pick it out informed me that you cna get any button you want, right down to Civil War buttons. Well, I’ll just have to remember that pursuit for another day.
The day concluded with a Starbucks frappacino and Nathans Chili Hot Dog from the food court. Not a bad day at all.
Continuing with the theme, Sunday was Target day.
I have never been to a Wal Mart, but have been in a Target a couple of times, and since I did need a few items, especially a charcoal grill for my deck (4th of July potential?), I tagged along. My friends scoffed at the Target we were going to, but it did have a food court in it, which makes it more legit than the one I had been to before back in CT. While my friends hunted for a vacuum cleaner I browsed around, and although the DVDs I have to admit were cheap, decided to just grab a few essentials (no thanks to you expensive D.C. CVS). We also bought a slew of stuff for the Fourth of July, which apparently will involve us wearing American flag hats/tiaras. This will go well with the American Flag boxers my friends bought Saturday, I guess. Other fun items included a 1000 piece puzzle of the Las Vegas strip and the New York City skyline.
My friends were checking out by the time I met up with them, so I needed to get into a different line, while they loaded the car with their stuff. I put my items I was holding in my hand down, and instructed the Target cashier I would be right back. I ran back to grab the grill and lugged the box up to the checkout area only to find…all my stuff was gone. In that whole 60 seconds I took, those friendly Target employees took my items away, even though I expressly told them not to.
So I put down the heavy box with the Weber grill, and raced back to get what I had had, and after not even finding everything, came back, where thankfully the Weber grill box remained. I got in line behind a lady who had literally one item left, a bottle of shampoo, and was swiping her card, when a Target employee approached me and asked if I was ready to check out.
Um, yes. That is why I am in line.
She grabs my items off of the coveyer belt, and scurries off to another checkout counter three rows down. Cursing, I grab the hefty box once more and make my way down there, only to find that standing between me and my items is another Target employee, who apparently thought it was ok to cut me in line…to buy a Dr. Pepper.
I throw down the box, and at the sound of the heavy thud behind him he turns around, and realizing what he had done (and apparently oblivious to the items before him, placed there by his coworker, who was now at the cashier’s spot), he apologizes and lets me go ahead. As she starts scanning my items, he coos, “Ooooo…a grill. You barbequing tonight?”.
I turn around to see the Target employee, with a boyish grin on his face and blonde streaks in his hair, still holding that Dr. Pepper, looking at me expectantly.
“Uh, yeah.” I mumbled something, and turned around to hand the cashier a Target gift card.
“Huh?” I turn around.
“You cookin’ steak?”
“Uh, yeah. Sure.”
“That’s $27.98,” says the cashier. I swipe my card.
“Yum, sounds good….when should I arrive?”, he asks with a coy look on his face.
“Uh…well…” I sign the receipt, wanting to get out as quickly as possible.
“You need help with that?”
“No, thanks, I’m good”. I grab the box under both arms and somehow manage to balance the bag with my other items on top.
“I’ll bring the potato salad!” he shouts after me in a sing song voice.
Thanks Target. Great customer service, I look forward to Wal Mart already.