I hate shopping....

I had to go to Tiffany's.  Not to visit Tiffany, the singer of the olden days.  Whatever happened to her?  Wait, I don't care.  I had to go to a Tiffany & Co. jewelry store.  

I didn't want to go to the store in San Francisco.  Too much hassle.  It would be easier to bring the small, non-working, brass Tiffany desk clock that I found in my dad's apartment while clearing it out, to a Tiffany store in southern CA.  It would be an errand on a road trip I had planned. 

Being both interested in and intimated by the shopping habits of a very small percentage of the population that is doing its part to put the us back into USA and pull us out of the economic mess we're in, I parked the car and took a deep breath before walking into South Coast Plaza.  It's the mega mall in The OC city of Costa Mesa.  It contains more high-end stores under one roof than I've ever seen.    

In the mall...where is that store?  Ah!  There's a security guard coming out of the security guard hallway.  He'll know where to point me.  Yep.  Go straight to the carousel (could that me the same carousel that was there when I was a kid and the joint first opened?).  Make a left at Giorgio's (Armani).  Go past Michael's (Kors).  (I didn't know he had a store.  I know he rips designers to shreds in much the same way they rip their fabrics on Project Runway.)  Continue past Jimmy's (Choo).  Keep going beyond John's (Varvatos - who's that guy?)  Look for Macy's.  Look left.  Tiff's.

I'm barely there and it occurs to me I need to remember how I got there.  Should have dropped some type of path re-tracers.  But those would have been swept up lickety split. The high rents for the stores require an immaculate setting. 

At the door of Tiffany I take another deep breath.  I'm greeted by one of several well-dressed gentlemen, store guards, wearing  earpieces. He directs me to Customer Service.  I must wend my way around many of the display cases, sparingly but elegantly furnished with jewels.  This ring is $46,000 -  was said just loud enough for me to hear, by a sales associate to a customer, as they sat at a small glass table admiring the bling. 

Customer Service, Tiffany-style, is lovely.  Only the company does repairs.  It is a parts-and-quality control freak.  The clock is sent to New York to see if it can be repaired.  The repair success rate is 98%.  If I don't like the repair price it will be shipped it back to me for a minimal charge, or to a local store for free.

As the associate starts taking the info from my business card she pauses to tell me about me.  How'd you know that?  You are in our system.  How can that be?  You are our customer.  Really.  What did I buy?  Earrings and a silver bracelet.  Oh...yeah, right.  I glanced down at the silver bracelet on my wrist.  I'd worn the earrings two days ago. Proving my claim to not like shopping, not only had I forgotten I'd bought those at a local Tiffany about 8 years ago as my treat to myself, pretending they were gifts from Carl, I forgot the store existed!

I ask how business is.  She says it's good.  Yes?  She leans over.  Last week we had a youngish couple, dressed like you (um, I think that was a dig, maybe aimed at my flip flops, pedal pushers, and Hawaiian shirt).  From Minnesota.  They were going to to be married in a few weeks.  Looking for rings.  So they bought one.  It cost $950,000.  WOW.  When that happens do you folks have a secret move, like scratching your nose or maybe you cross your eyes, getting the attention of the staff letting them know one of you have just reeled in a big catch?  No....but at the meeting the next day it was announced.  Oh, and they'd bought a couple of Jags earlier that week.  I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We just looked at each other.  Then she said, from Minnesota.

So I'm a customer, and I look like some of the rich people!   Now I feel right at home.  My rush to get out slows.  I ask about gold chain link bracelets.  Big mistake.  I'll just leave my silver bracelet for a cleaning instead. That comfortable feeling leaves.  And so do I.

Time to retrace my steps past my new buddies: John, Jimmy, Michael, and Giorgio.  On my way out I stop by The Corner Bakery for a treat and a drink to go.  To my surprise they offer Fresca (my favorite these days) as part of their dispenser selection!  I gave up all cola drinks almost a year ago.  Shopping has its rewards!  Maybe I like this mall.

Then I remember I have to feed the auto.  I pull into a gas station.  Again I'm surprised.  This time the menu  selection for the car is expanded.  Not for my car, though.  But next to where I am,  pumps are being installed for dispensing hydrogen.  Hydrogen?  How many cars use hydrogen?  Cool! 

It's not easy staying in tune with the trends.  In fact I mostly don't try.  And my four wheeled vehicle will just have to settle for mid-grade gas.

I still hate shopping.

Live richly.



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