What I Hated the Least Today 55/365: Mall

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I went to the mall today. Shopping malls scare me because they are filled with underpaid cashiers (aka sales assistants, though I doubt their fancy position title makes them feel any better), uprooted teenagers and homeless people foraging unfinished junk food from the bins. The scariest part though is that once you enter the mall, the end of the world could be happening outside and you’d never know.

I begrudgingly ventured in the mall because half a year ago, I needed a haircut, and half a year later, the need hasn’t diminished, quite the contrary. I could get away with my lack of hairstyle outside because I wear a scarf wrapped around my head in winter (arguably, my headscarf was scaring more people than my nonexistent hairstyle would), but I thought it would nice to get civilised again.

After I had my hair cut and dyed an actual colour (my natural colour is nondescript colourless) and told the hairdresser that the result was great (it wasn’t), she proceeded to charge me for the mineral water she offered me (refreshments were normally included in the whooping prices of the hairstudio as far as I could remember), which upset me, so I upset her by not leaving a tip. I’m mean.

Not particularly pleased with either myself or my new hair, I went to see if there were any shops selling maternity clothes. I’m not pregnant but I look it. Apparently, the hot fashion for February 2016 are thin see-through blouses and things with tassels. In HM, though, which is here a shop where poor people shop, I found trousers that met my single demand: a stretch waistband, no zippers, no buttons. In C&A, which is here a shop where even poorer people shop, I found a cheap shirt suitable as homewear.

I have a high demand for homewear because I have a cat who hates it that I wear clothes and made it her business to chew and claw everything I dare wear. When I unwrapped the shirt at home, I cut the useless hanging loop off the item and gave the loop to the cat to play with. My cat doesn’t get smart toys that I buy her, and as I expected, she was extremely thrilled with the loop.

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I had some close encounters of the third kind in the mall. I was chased by a woman from a mobile stand, who called after me ma’m and offered to measure the amount of fat in my body. She offended me twice in one take. Because ma’m? When you call someone this in my culture, it means that you deem the person addressed to be an old lady. Also, fat measurement? I know I’m fat and I don’t consider it polite to be reminded. I’m touchy.

I also had a girl in the lift ask me if I happened to know whether Seneca was on the first floor. I replied  that I didn’t think they kept the bones of dead philosophers in the mall. Seneca turned out to be a coffee shop, which I passed when I got, as usual, lost in the mall. Later I saw whom I thought was the same Seneca-eager girl, and she looked lost too. I directed her to Seneca, against my better judgement because all people look the same to me and I suspected I might be directing an entirely different person. I turned to be right this time. The girl and I were both pleased.

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31 comments on “What I Hated the Least Today 55/365: Mall”

  1. Lol! Seneca, close encounters, mean hairdressers. I know, now I’m being mean for laughing at your terrible day in the mall. I’m sorry your hairdresser is so mean. At least I get a coffee and a chocolate at mine. And here tipping is not part of our culture. The prices are high enough without adding more to them 🙂

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    1. It’s ok to laugh, that’s the idea 😀 Naturally, I hate it when I’m having hard time but I love it that then I can blog about it and have some fun! I should probably go to your hairdresser. I could use coffee and chocolate.

      In the Czech Republic tips are common, they are expected in restaurants and at some other occasions, like when you get your pizza delivered to your door, but at many times it’s rather blurry whether you should tip or not. The hairdresser is one of those uncertain cases. I usually tip, but as I said, the prices at hair studios are so high that I think I’ll make it a new rule not to tip in this case…

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  2. I’ve also witnessed “homeless people foraging unfinished junk food from the bins” at shopping malls in Oslo, but later I’ve realized that it was actually just teens and immigrants eating at McDonalds…

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  3. Apropos “all people look the same”.
    Once, when I was at the National Museum in Stockholm (I’m aware that I score cultural points by telling this, while at the same time I lose some street cred), this old lady asked me, as I was looking at a painting, “what do they call it when someone bleeds out of their hands and feet like that?”.
    I couldn’t remember the word at the time, but later I remembered. So, I walked over to the old lady and told her “Stigmata!”. She was looking at me with scared eyes: “What?”
    I told her: “Stigmata. When you bleed out of your hands and feet.”
    Turned out it wasn’t the same old lady…

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    1. This is HILARIOUS!! I bet you scared the old lady to death. I’m usually immune to creepy people but I’d freak out if someone approached me and murmured “Stigmata” of all things. That’s what happens when a person tries to be nice and helpful.

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  4. Funny that, I also went to the mall today 😀 Or it’s more of a shopping center. It was after 2 pm and it was full of these teens hanging around. Don’t these people have a school to go to?! I really hate crowds so I don’t go to the mall very often. I also hate shopping so that’s another reason.

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    1. It’s sort of comforting to hear that I’m not the only person with a strong dislike for shopping centres. I rarely go there, but one needs to wear something, so when I need clothes, I venture to the human zoo that the shopping mall is. I guess it would be a great place for all kinds of social observation and experiments, if I could be bothered to stay there for longer than absolutely necessary.

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  5. This was the funniest post I’ve read in quite some time … Cardinal Guzman’s comments included. I’m still lauging.

    Seneca d.y. was a real swinger! It’s also a tribe in NY State, and a place. We do tip hairdressers here. I go to a barber. No refreshments offered.

    I’m so used to be called ma’am, but if someone were to call out, wanting to measure my body fat, I’d be highly offended. I hate it when they do that stuff … not matter what it is about, sometimes it’s finger nails treatment.

    Our best mall is slowly dying, it seems … hardly any people there anymore, many shops have closed.

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    1. Great to hear that the post resonated with you! I hope to write some more funny stories like this when I have the inspiration – that is, when I venture out and have contact with people, at home nothing too exciting ever happens (which is great, but not so great for blogging purposes).

      I’d go to the barber if I could, it would be much less hassle, but I suspect I’m a bit more demanding, especially when I always want my hair dyed too. I stopped dying my hair at home a long time ago, it was just too much mess.

      I’m at the turning point when some people still call me Miss or Mrs, and others are starting to call me Ma’am. In English, it’s perfectly polite, I guess, but in Czech it’s really what you would use for an old respectable lady.

      We have about five or six malls in the town, which really is too much. I don’t think any of them prospers greatly, perhaps with the exception of the newest one, which is conveniently situated in the town centre. They pulled down an old silo and of course, what else to put there instead than another mall.

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      1. I feel exactly the same way, about being at home … it’s when I venture out I have something to write about, or perhaps a picture.

        One time in my life, I’ve dyed my hair. I used some type of herb called Henna, mixed it with tea. Supposedly the tea would help make my hair more red [it’s rather dark in itself]. I couldn’t see any difference, but when my mother saw me she said; «gawd … you look like a HOOKER!» LOL She was always encouraging like that …

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        1. Hooker?! That’s not very encouraging… I’d probably feel matricidal if I were to receive such a “compliment”. I’ve been dying my hair since I was a teenager, mostly just wash-out shampoos that last a few weeks, sometimes permanent colour (which isn’t as permanent as the name suggests). I’ve tried all possible colours, except blond, but I didn’t feel like a hooker even when I wore my hair red…

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          1. I don’t know … guess she thought it looked terrible, and that was the first word that came to mind 🙂. Sufficeth to say, I was used to her reactions. I wasn’t too pleased with it, myself, since I didn’t notice any difference [except when the sun was shining on it].

            I’m noticing a few silver strands now, and I say «bring it on! … let it turn grey!» If nothing else; it will make a change 🙂 My mum’s hair was almost black, and she had brown eyes, but I don’t look like her at all …

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          2. My mother has naturally pitch black hair and brown eyes, I got her eyes but I the colourless hair I inherited from my father. I’m not too impressed. I love it when people wear naturally grey/silver hair with dignity. It looks simply beautiful. But I’m not ready to go grey yet 😮

            Apropo inappropriate reactions of one’s mothers – yesterday my mother inquired about my romantic life. (“Romantic” is euphemism.) I stared at her with my mouth open, patted her on the shoulder (condescendingly, I know) and said nothing. Because WTF.

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          3. I got my father’s eyes … I think of that when I look at the one photo I have of him, and also when I hear the Eric Clapton song with the same title.

            My childhood friend back home … I met her after I’d been away for four years. Her hair was silver, [she was in her thirties], and the first thing I said when I saw her was something about what a great job they’d done on her hair! It was so good looking, but it was entirely natural. Nowadays, it has turned white, though …

            Heh! @ the inquiry … don’t think my mum ever did that … but then again, I guess she must have been too busy keeping up with my divorces ‘n stuff …

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          4. Oh, that’s a strange but a great compliment, I’d love to receive it – that my natural hair is so perfect that it looks like from the hands of a stylist 🙂 It’s true that I often get compliments of the type “oh, you have a new hairstyle” when all I did was just wash my hair and style it. I’ve stopped explaining.

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          5. Going to see the barber tomorrow. My bangs are getting into my field of vision, and it’s in general hopeless to try and do any styling now …

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          6. Bangs are the worst in combination with glasses. I know what I’m talking about… I have always huge troubles when I ask my hairdresser for a fringe, or bangs, because they seem to consider it unfashionable and always hesitate to do it properly.

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  6. We went to the pet store yesterday at the mall. Crazy experience, I agree. Of course, we took puppy with so we could size her for a collar. Because she is so adorable, everybody and their brother wanted to talk to her and pet her, and get far inside my space, far past the bubble line I draw around me. Hated it, and I’m sure puppy wasn’t thrilled either. The pet store was an amazingly decadent super store of consumerism and wildly expensive crap. There were three full aisles, that’s 6, yes 6, rows, top to bottom of collars and leashes. I think the same people you speak of were here roaming the aisles. Or their distant relatives. There was even an actually fight, everything except fisticuffs at the checkout. I was so happy to get back to my mountain. I think I am becoming a hermit.

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    1. That must have been a genuinely traumatising experience for everything involved… I never understand how, when people see a cute kid or pet, they feel entitled to bother you. I’m glad that I shop for all my pet supplies online, no one molests my cat and the choice is, surprisingly, not so overwhelming! I’m effectually a hermit, and I can recommend it 😉

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