Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shopping Saturday (Bad Idea)

I had a momentary lapse in judgment and agreed to join Tom in a trip to the new L.L. Bean store in Burlington (Mass.) at the brand new Wayside Commons.

You can see my initial mistake right there in that sentence. A trip to the NEW L.L. Bean store at the BRAND NEW "shopping destination" (stupid, nonsensical marketing idiot's way of saying MALL MALL MALL!) - It's a mall you jackasses. It is raining today, so I knew it could be busy, but OMG - crazy busy. Like Black Friday busy. In the way that when we hit the parking lot I was instantly freaking out and barking driving directions at Tom (sorry Tommy.) We exited the parking lot (and secretly I hoped we were leaving) but Tom found parking on the backside of the shopping destination.

The place is built on a square concept - shops along the edge, parking in the middle. Probably maximizing the use of space, and as opposed to a strip mall, you can see the other stores in the "destination". We walked the length of the place to get to Tom's chosen store and passed a West Elm location (nice) and what will be a Blue Tulip (I guess it's a gifty store) another furniture place with a crazy name and this store:

I have no idea why this store is called "Justice - Just for Girls" - it's not like the fashions were designed to channel girls to law school or law enforcement. They were your run of the mill, over-priced, ridiculously bedazzled t-shirts and denim minis.

Anyway, we wandered on down to L.L. Bean and entered mayhem central. The place is gigantic. Two levels of outdoorsman heaven. You can get your Fair Isle cardigan or your Brook Trout fly reel. They had kayaks and canoes hanging from the walls and hundreds and hundreds of shoppers - all in one location! HUNDREDS. Tom was looking for a new pair of Merrill shoes so we headed for the shoe department (downstairs) and made our way to the wall. As luck would have it, a nice young man (Brian) was at the ready to fetch sizes for Tom. It became an easy choice as they had one pair, in black, in Tom's size. Slicing our way through the horde we traveled upstairs to look at coats. They have a lot of coats. Fortunately Tom had brought along the page from the catalog with the coat he was looking for. Joan in the coat department saved my sanity and directed us to what he was looking for. Having found the two items we purportedly were there for, I suggested we move to the checkout line. Which was long. Long, long. Black Friday long:

The photo doesn't begin to show how long the line was. In the photo, I'm shooting from the middle of line before it takes a 90 degree turn to the left to enter the final maze of candied blueberry products and impulse-buy items before you get to the registers. HOW LONG WAS IT? It was so long, that an employee was sent down the line to hand out bottles of Poland Spring water. The line was so long that I was shopping in the women's department as the line crawled toward the cash registers. I ended up with a sweater and some lip gloss.

You would thnk after all the retail I've done in my life (Contempo Casuals, The Limited, Foxmoor, Sound Warehouse) that I would have had the sense to stay away from a GRAND OPENING. Nope. But I did get a nice sweater.

BTW - HOW BUSY WAS THE SHOPPING DESTINATION? It was so busy that the Omaha Steaks store had a line out the door too. Yikes.


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