A Danger Zone

In the realm of shopping experience, nothing beats a good department store. Macy’s is my favorite. There’s something about a department store that screams elegance and sophistication. Except when it screams danger. Most department store experiences are the same, if not similar. We walk in the doors to the smell of clothing dye and perfume spritzes and the leather of the shoes and handbags, all mingling with each other to create that distinct department store aroma. We make our way to the center of the store where the jewelry and cosmetics are located and where the floors are made of shiny white tiles that seem to glitter in under the track lighting. Oh yes. I can hold my own in a Macy’s. But some department stores are different. These are what we would call the high end shopping experiences (Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue). There’s something about these particular stores that is unsettling. Perhaps it’s the smell of the leather handbags that cost more than most people’s monthly mortgage. Perhaps it’s the dye in the $200 t-shirt hanging on the sale rack. Perhaps it’s the expensive perfume worn by the shoppers, who are positively dripping with huge gaudy jewelry that we know cost a fortune. There is an intense potential for danger in the form of overpriced jeans or the “free” gift with purchase, a sense that a person could easily lose track of actual value because of the allure of the store and its merchandise. Whatever the case, it is safe to say that these shopping venues offer a different kind of retail experience, one filled with lust after things we can’t afford and a sense of apprehension as we quickly make our exit out of fear that we will have to pay for the privilege of browsing. These trips never prove fruitful; I leave the store feeling as though I’ve stolen the experience itself. I do, however, have a new appreciation for my own shopping habits. Bring on the Macy’s and the Dillards!


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