Violins played soulfully in the background. The air was sweet with the gentle fragrance of roses infused with bergamots. My eyes glazed over as I walked down the aisle with a smile towards that wonderful man who had everything I had been looking for. I could feel the envious glances from a bunch of women across the room and hastened to reach him, lest he be distracted by their presence.
If I had thought that this was one of those picture perfect moments of my life, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The violins were rudely interrupted by an in-store announcement. The perfume sales-person went away on a break, taking with her the last whiff of the Nina Ricci EDT that she had so generously been spraying at random shoppers. The sales guy at the Benetton aisle was attacked from the flank by a woman with a fake Louis Vuitton bag who relieved him of half my shortlisted clothes!
“Ah well, at least you’ve got your mug”, my friend patted me on the arm encouragingly when she saw my fuming ‘I-shall-murder-the-thieving-lady-with-the-fake-bag’ look. I nodded, slightly abashed. I was abashed because I had dragged my unsuspecting friend into the Shopper’s Stop store earlier that morning to buy a mug. And there I was 3 hours later with 2 pairs of shoes, a summer dress, a tulip skirt and yeah, one mug but still mourning over the loss of a couple of peplum dresses that I had shortlisted. And all she had to show for the 3 hours was, well, infinite patience and empathy! Uggh, shopping does bring out the ugly, ungracious side of me!
My friend Simi once told me that I turn in to some sort of a weird Zombie when I shop. Apparently, when I spot a dress or a pair of peep-toe shoes that takes my fancy, I zone out, my eyes glaze over and I eerily glide towards it with my arms outstretched; impervious to all external stimuli / internal logic. I stopped for a moment to ponder over that hard-hitting truth (after I had tried out that new pair of peep-toe shoes, of course!) I realized then that I seem to have more of a physiological response to shopping. Retail Therapy which has been touted to be the ultimate mood enhancer for most of (wo)mankind seems to go one step ahead to act as a performance enhancer for me! In fact if you’d put me in a 100 m sprint alongside Usain Bolt with the finish line at the Zara store, I’m pretty sure I’d elbow him and surge ahead.
I am not kidding. There is nothing like a LBD or a pair of kitten heels to get the adrenaline pumping. After several years of dedicated research in the Retail space (read indiscriminate shopping) I have logged the following observations on the physiological effects of Retail Therapy:
1. Blood rushes to the brain. (I believe this also happens when one runs into George Clooney)
2. There is a heightened sense of sight and touch. (Yes, there *is* a difference between cyan coloured chiffon and cerulean tinted crepe.)
3. And the reflexes are distinctly sharper. (Well, sharper than that on a Monday morning and sharp enough to elbow Usain Bolt out of the race to Zara!)
Add to that the forbidden four letter word – S*A*L*E and you’d have me on a leash! I was probably hypnotized as a kid as a part of some socio-economic experiment to boost the Retail industry in India. I presume ‘sale’ would have been chosen as the key word that would snap me in and out of a dream-like state (where I would charge about mindlessly emptying my wallet). Anyway, if any of those evil scientists are reading this… Congratulations! It works. I even rush into ‘Lungi’ exhibitions at Co-Optex thanks to the rainbow coloured sign-board that screams “SALE”!
So the way it usually works is - twice a year I wake up early on a Saturday morning to a phone call from my friend Vani with the joyous news of the end of season sales. We plan our strategy and our circuit which like a medieval hunting expedition mostly involves getting a head start. Until recently, our circuit mostly revolved around Phoenix Mills and Atria Mall. However last year, with due deference to our geographical status, we foraged the hunting grounds up north. I shall have you know that we wore down the escalators of Phoenix Market City, R-City mall and Oberoi mall all in one day! Well, the Oberoi sojourn was for a movie but I’m counting it anyway. Bite me! Oh dear, there’s my retail-induced mean streak again. If any of the shoppers from R-City mall are reading this… Sorry about the black eye, but that *was* the last yellow cardigan in the store after all and I saw it first.
And finally, if Arjun, Vaibhav or Kunal are reading this… “Girls Will Shop”!!!