Before the home shopping option was available, a Saturday spree was an outing in itself, and was often a sociable jaunt in the company of a best friend or relative. As a teenager, going shopping on a Saturday was akin to a rite of passage. Even though the booty was only likely to be a stick of lipstick, it would, nonetheless, constitute a full day’s activity.
A successful day shopping could only be classed as such if your feet were aching, you’d stopped for lunch, and squeezed in at least two coffee breaks. Part of the fun was also having a companion with you. Someone who shamelessly encouraged your spending, picked out garments which you’d have normally dismissed immediately, and doled out helpful advice in the changing room. Normally, the kind of advice that saw you struggling into various garments ad infinitum until you were red in the face and frazzled. You’d end up wondering why you were friends with this person when you got home, tried on your new dress and realised that you were right all along to think you looked like a moron. This lapse of rational thinking can happily be excused though, by the constant distraction of trying to ensure that no one was able to see you in your undies in the changing rooms.
The horror of a communal changing room is, thankfully, a thing of the past. Only pre-pubescent teens could ever have enjoyed that experience, as they smugly bemoaned to a friend that the size 8 was just too big.
Worse still, is the sorry situation when a store has got the changing room experience just right. Helpful, but unobtrusive, members of staff fetch alternative sizes, comment on the appeal of your choices and allow you to make up your own mind as you twirl below the pitch-perfect lighting, designed to flatter to the utmost. It’s only when you get home and try on your purchase again in the cold light of day that you realise you’ve been duped.
It’s usually at this point that you switch on the laptop and treat yourself to a conciliatory pair of shoes. At least if you haven’t been marching about the shops all day, you can rest assured that your feet won’t be fat!