I went to the mall on Saturday. I had to go pick up a pair of shelves (at some chick’s house) that I found on craigslist at 11am, and while I was carrying them to my car, I realized that it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining brightly for the first time in quite a while, yet it was crisp and refreshing—the kind of weather where you want to get shit done. So I went to one of the places I hate most in the world, (also indoors because regardless of how lovely the day is, I’m just not an outside girl. I don’t have an outside agenda, and as much as I do sometimes long to walk for pleasure, I prefer to walk somewhere so I know when I’m done). I went to the mall because the post-x-mas sales made it seem very foolish to not at least look and see what was available to me.

So I walked to the mall.

In its defense, the Providence Place Mall is very pretty; but like all shopping, the idea wears me out much more than the actual execution. Also, this mall has the vendors that don’t have actual stores, but rather carts in the middle of the walking aisle—this is normal—what isn’t normal is how pushy these people are. They’re all attractive young people with an accent and a story, and they won’t let you leave. Apparently, I’m an easy mark because the first time I went into this mall, I was rounding the elevator when I found myself wearing some kind of heated shoulder wrap getting a neck massage from a short man who murmured “Do you like that? That feels good, yes?” Yes, it felt fine, but was still out-of-bounds when all I wanted was a pair of brown sandals.

I can handle this behavior when I’m prepared for it. I mastered the firm “no” in many countries, but I still don’t expect it at the mall, and therefore am at a disadvantage until I’ve built up my resistance.

Since I avoid the mall, this resistance will be a long time coming, I imagine.

I had a successful time at the first store I went to and almost called it quits, but I forced myself to go on finally ending up at Victoria’s Secret. I actually found a decent bra, and tried it on in under 15 minutes, then waited in line for 15 more minutes to pay for it. Naturally, I realized while in line that I had forgotten my Victoria’s Secret credit card.

It seems foolish for me to have a Victoria’s Secret card since before Saturday I had, like, 1 bra, but this is one card I can’t seem to get rid of. I first got it when I was 15-years-old, and should not have had a credit card at all, but they foolishly accepted my Visa debit card as some kind of proof of financial responsibility, and awarded me a $500.00 limit. That made me feel special. So now, I rarely use it, but keep it open because they require you to write an actual letter in order to close your account, and I figure, what’s the harm in keeping it? They award you points for every dollar you spend, and even though I can’t imagine spending enough to actually see a return on those points, maybe one day I will need more than $500 worth of underwear and pajamas in a year. Someday when I’m fancy and flush with cash, and just dying to by bras made of space-age materials, I will say “my god, I’m glad I hung onto that card.”

Except, on this day, I had forgotten to bring my card along. I asked the sullen girl at the cash register to look up my account and provided her with the necessary information, and after awkwardly waiting, new bra in hand, she rang up the sale. She then stuffed a whole lot of paper into my pink and white bag and told me “I’ve just included a temporary card for you to use along with some coupons.”

I was touched. I had underestimated this girl by assuming that she was just coasting along until her break, hating her job, and, by proxy, me. “Thank you so much.” I said, but she had already turned around. I left the mall and walked home where I put away my new purchases and made myself some lunch.

Finally, the next day, I looked at the receipts and whatnot I’d pulled out of the bags to see what kind of coupons she gave me. There were no coupons—at all. She gave me the temporary card and the sheet of paper where I’d written my SSN and phone number—nothing more. I wasn’t expecting coupons when I went into that store, but I was certainly expecting to leave with what was promised to me. Who does that?? Why do that?? I would, most likely, have either scoffed at the coupons, or shoved them into my purse until they expired, but I should have had those options.

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