The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Warning: Silly, girly rant to blow off some steam

So everybody who knows me knows that I ♥ Lush. A lot. So much that I was willing to drive to the Orlando International Airport (that's MCO for those who aren't in the know) to shop in the only Lush store in Orlando (as shipping from Canada is a bitch). It wasn't so much trouble really. It's about 10-15 minutes away from work, so I'm already out there every weekday. Plus there's the added benefit of inside knowledge about "Terminal Top Parking" which makes it a lot easier to get into the terminal than than regular parking garage parking. Sure airport parking costs a buck or two when you're in there over 30 minutes. *shrugs* Big deal. I'm already spending money, what's a buck or two more?

But then, Lush got smart.

They opened another store (finally!) in one of the malls in Orlando. Unfortunately, the mall they chose (or got stuck with, I'm not sure) is the Florida Mall. Have you ever been in the Florida Mall? It's dark, claustrophobic, sprawling, hermetically designed to keep you lost and wandering, and is full of tourists and people who apparently have nothing better to do with their lives than dress in what passes for urban fashion these days and be seen at this mall.

This mall has a hotel in it. A hotel.

What, is that your "Orlando Vacation?" Rather than be encouraged to spend money on trinkets and souvenirs at the theme parks, you'd prefer to be barraged by the crass consumerism marketing techniques of all kinds of retailers from high-falootin' department stores down to the cheesiest of kiosks? Well, I don't suppose I'd blame you. Theme parks overcharge you on the pretense of giving you "happiness" rather than a tangible product. At least in shopping malls you know that all they really want is your money, and they're not going to pretend otherwise.

But then again, if you're staying in the Florida Mall hotel, you're probably spending money at the theme parks anyway, and are expecting a lot of shopping to be done over your vacation no matter what. A hotel in a mall. It just doesn't make sense...

But I digress.

Anyway, after the "claim my new glasses on Black Friday" fiasco last year (the parking lot is perfectly laid out to ensure the same driving experience one gets when departing a concert or sports event in a motor vehicle - I have been to other malls on Black Friday and I have seen much better) I had sworn off of this mall for the most part. I deigned to only visit Nordstroms, as I don't care about the other department stores and can go in and out without having to set foot on the rest of the premises. (Although I did come to the important realization that Nordstroms doesn't sell a damn thing I want to buy.)

A guy friend of mine knew of this chink in my anti-Florida-Mall armor when he told me about the Lush store that had recently opened there. "It's by Nordstroms," he said. "And it's in the nice part of the mall. It's not that hard to get to." I was wary at first, but on the day I needed to go I was tired and wanted to get home faster. By prevailing logic, the Florida Mall is actually fairly directly on my way home, as opposed to 10-15 minutes out of my way. So I said "what the hell" and decided to give it a shot.

He lied.

He lied deliberately and maliciously to get me to wander around the mall. And I'll even go so far as to suspect that he knew I'd be walking by the Ann Taylor Loft right when they had a huge "sale" sign in the window. He made me buy those clothes that I absolutely adore. I know he did.

But all in all it wasn't the worst experience in the world. Once I figured out which department store Lush is actually close to I thought that perhaps getting in and out would be much easier. Until today when I went back. I had my game plan. I was focused on my mission. No Ann Taylor Loft would distract me today. In, to Lush, and out. It would be a piece of cake. And in a sense, you could say that. But from the department store I entered all the way through the corridors with the claustrophibically close ceilings and the pathways crammed to the gills with tacky, gaudy, ritzy stores and kiosks which caused the drooling hordes to stop and slow down wherever I wanted to get to until I finally reached my destination, my only thought was "God I hate shopping malls." But then I thought of other places that I do like to go to on occasion and I realized: I don't hate malls. I hate this mall. It represents everything that I feel is wrong with capitalism today, and has facilitated some of the most abysmal shopping experiences I have ever had (sometimes just by the effect on my psyche alone) and drains my spirit of the will to live.

By contrast, the Lush store in the mall is laid out a little nicer than the Lush store in the airport. It's a little brighter and less cluttered. It doesn't matter so much to me though, the aesthetics of both stores work just fine, and the products are so cool that I don't really care. And you know what? After the soul-dirtying experience of having to wade through a sea of psychic sewage of information overload and too many people, and having to fend off inescapeable, overly large and brightly lit attacks to my eyes of "BUY NOW," I think I'd rather take the extra 10-15 minutes, pay the 1-2 bucks in parking, and have a much quieter and more pleasant experience in the airport.

A quiet and pleasant shopping experience in an airport? I think that says a lot.

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