In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
Well, it’s January. The Christmas decorations have been taken down and we’ve all been reminded just how un-shiny our houses are without them. No matter where you are in Britain, it’s probably raining. We’re all leaving the holiday land of sitting around in pyjamas watching telly all day, and heading back to school, or work, or to the university land of sitting around in pyjamas watching telly all day whilst worrying about essays. It’s tough. January is a whole month’s worth of Monday morning. But at least we have the prospect of shopping in the January sales to get us through, right?
No, not right. Not right at all. It’s no secret that I don’t particularly enjoy shopping. I must have been ill on the day that they took most of the girls, and some of the boys, aside and explained to them that shopping is fun. As far as I’m concerned, shopping is something to be done only when you actually need to get something, and then it is done in the most efficient and pain-free way possible. With this in mind, I’ve compiled something of a ‘survival guide’ to help should you find yourself experiencing retail-related awkwardness. Here are some places to avoid if you wish to survive with your limbs and mental health intact.
1. The Perfume Counters
Yes, I know they are enticing with their bright lights, shiny mirrors, and tiny bottles of pastel-coloured liquid. But beware! Like some deadly, exotic jungle creature they try to lure us in with intoxicating scents, weird slogans, and pictures of men with very tight underpants. And then when an unsuspecting victim has wandered haplessly into the perfume counter’s clutches, they will find themselves irrevocably snared by a terrifying woman named Stacey. Stacey wants to exchange excruciating small talk with you and bombard you with sales patter. So beware, the temptation to smell like an Amazonian rainforest or a French lady on a train might be overwhelming, but venturing towards the perfume counters will come at a price, and it won’t just affect your wallet.
2. Changing Rooms
This might seem like an odd piece of advice, and I’m certainly not advocating stripping off in the middle of the Debenhams food court instead. After all, unless you’ve mistakenly wandered into the middle of a nudist colony, getting naked is unlikely to make a situation any less awkward.
However, entering a changing room is hardly a more heartwarming alternative. You’d think it would be in the interests of a clothes shop to ensure that their changing rooms are a flattering environment in which even the most hideous of hairy skirts or leopard print trousers looks amazing. Instead what changing rooms do is allow you to see just how terrible that jumper looks from every conceivable direction. What might have looked nice on the hanger is almost sure to look considerably worse once you’ve put it on inside the small box of intense lighting and surround mirrors. And let’s be honest, unless you’re Pippa Middleton, no-one wants to see their own bottom from 365 unique angles.
3. The Lingerie Department
This isn’t just because it’s full of terrifying instruments of torture disguised as ladies’ underwear. Although the vast selections of scary knickers and bras that appear to have built-in scaffolding are very good reasons to avoid the lingerie department. More concerning than this, however, is the issue that this department is probably the most embarrassing place in the retail environment in which to bump into someone you know (with the possible exception of the aisle with the big sign over it saying ‘Feminine Hygiene’). It is also, therefore, the place where you are most likely to bump into someone you know. And it will never be someone you know well enough for it to just be funny that they caught you buying a jumbo pack of extra-large briefs.
The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation