December 20, 2011

On Christmas Shopping for teens

My kids aren't label conscious, and shopping for Bang is more about finding the right size for his stringbean shape.  He has grown nearly 3 inches since May, losing the same amount of girth for each gained inch of height (how I would love to have that problem).  His existing wardrobe is driving me nuts, as the waist now allows for a Snoop Dogg level droop - something that Bang is loathe to rectify, as hitching up the pants puts him in 'where's the flood?' territory. 

The girls and I set out to find some new pants for the boy, and a shirt or two to accompany.  We stepped into the first hipster teen shop.  You know, one of those with a shockingly young, half naked, ripped abs model on a larger than life canvas at the front entrance.  We were eventually greeted by a trendy young retail employee who screamed, "Can I help you find anything?," over the blaring music.  We shouldn't have dismissed her so soon.  It was friggin' dark in that store.  Even with two pairs of young eyes, we struggled for several minutes to see prices and sizes.  They clearly don't want to sell anything to anyone who cares about price or size.  

We left that store and tried one other that was equally as dark, loud and un-shoppable.  I haven't looked it up, but have to believe that they are owned by the same parent company.  The third store was a welcome change.  Music at a level that allowed for conversation, brightly lit, and friendly young employees that weren't too hip to talk to us.  Not only did we make several purchases, we commented on the pleasant experience and vowed to not return to the other stores.  WTF kind of business do they think they are in?  And, no offense to the store we liked (that has American in the name), but all of the clothes look the same, they just have a different logo.

The other thing I want to complain about is the lack of access.  It was two steps up (and then two steps down) into both of those dark stores.  I didn't notice an accessible entrance, though maybe their hip wooden louvered shutters can be opened to allow someone in a wheelchair in.  It wouldn't matter, because they don't leave enough room to walk between their racks and tables, much less maneuver a chair or walker.  In fact, there were very few stores that do leave enough space.  The local costume jewelry chain has packed their small store with twice as many racks as it should accommodate.  Even Toys R Us was impassable with added bins and tables in the aisles that made it impossible to walk more than single file - no way a wheelchair could access.  I am still fortunate enough to walk without an assisting device (until my knee surgery next month), but feel even more fortunate that I can choose not to shop at stores that clearly can't accommodate everyone. 

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