Fashion Shopping for the Reluctant

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I thought I’d share this piece I wrote for part of my coursework just for something different. I had to choose something I found boring written from someone else’s perspective.

How about we meet up in town for a coffee, Ellie? It’s about time we had a good catch-up. Let’s go to Costa – they make excellent coffee there, and the cakes are delicious. I’ll meet you at 11 am outside Boots.

11 am came, and we met as planned.

Darling! Lovely to see you again; how are you doing? You look a bit tired; too many late nights? Let’s go and queue up at Costa’s – they’re bound to be busy. You grab us a table and park your wheelchair; I’ll get the coffees. What cake would you like? They make a fabulous carrot cake.

Well, that was a perfect cappuccino, and that cake was amazing. Is that the time? I wanted to go to a few shops to look for a dress for the office party. I love shopping for clothes. You don’t mind coming with me, do you? I thought you might like to help me choose. Let’s go to River Island – they sell very stylish things there. They’re a bit expensive, but it’s worth it to get something fashionable, don’t you think? I don’t want to turn up in something boring and old fashioned. Ooh! Look at that dress? It’s down the end of the shop – let’s go and have a look. And, it’s blue, my favourite colour. You don’t mind if I go and try it on, do you? No, I didn’t think you would. I won’t be long; you wait there.

Fifteen minutes later

Oh, I’m sorry I was so long, darling. You should have seen the length of the queue! I decided against that dress; it made me look frumpy. Let’s try somewhere else. We can go to H & M. They’ve got some lovely clothes in there too; they’re very stylish and cheaper than River Island. This is so exciting! Oh, look at that red top over there! I think I like that more than the dress. It’ll go with my new black trousers. I bought them in the sale at Matalan last week. I think they’d look smart together. I’ll just go and try it on. I won’t be long; the queue doesn’t look as long as in the first shop. You wait here.

Four minutes later

Nope – this top isn’t right either; it makes me look too wide around the bust. It’s such a shame; it looked so lovely on the mannequin, too. How about we go to Next? It’s only up the end of the High Street. Come on. Next is a bit pricey, but it is for a special occasion; I don’t mind paying more. Goodness, it’s getting busy everywhere. I suppose lots of people are shopping during their lunch hours. Ooh! Stop a minute. Let’s pop into Primark as we’re passing. Look! They’ve got a beautiful yellow top in the window. That’ll go well with those black trousers too, and it looks so summery. Yes, I know it’s a bit crowded to get your wheelchair through, but I’m sure you don’t mind, do you? I’ll head off to the changing rooms; you catch me up in a minute. Okay?

Ten minutes later

Ellie!? Oh, there you are. Come into the cubicle with me; you can have a proper look. What do you think of this? Don’t you love it? Do you reckon this colour suits me – come on, be honest? Personally, I think it’s my favourite item so far. You wait outside the fitting rooms while I get changed out of it. Why don’t you start queuing up; it’s a long queue? I won’t be long; I’ll be as quick as possible. Save me a place. We won’t have such a long wait to pay that way. Well, that was a bargain, wasn’t it?

Oh, hang on a tic; I’ve just seen a necklace in the window; it’ll go brilliantly with the rest of my outfit, don’t you think? I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Wait here. I shan’t be long. The queue has died down a bit now.

Twenty-five minutes later.

I’m so sorry, Ellie. Isn’t it typical? I was standing behind this woman in the queue, and as she went to pay, she couldn’t find her credit card. The checkout girl asked if she had any cash or would she like her to put it back for her. She confirmed she had money and got her brown suede purse out of her Marks & Spencer carrier bag. Then, she asked the cashier if she’d mind taking coins as she didn’t have any notes. And then, would you believe it, she emptied her purse and counted out a mixture of pound coins, 50ps and copper and then realised she was short of £3.50! Honestly, you should have seen the checkout girl’s face! I could tell she wasn’t impressed, but she was polite and offered to put the necklace back on the stand after serving the other customers. It was my turn next, and by now, the queue had backed up all the way to the customer service till at the end. That woman got some filthy looks from the people behind her. I’d have been so embarrassed if that were me, wouldn’t you? I hope you didn’t mind waiting for me for so long; I knew you’d understand. Do you fancy another coffee? I’ll put that necklace on, and you can take a photo of me wearing it and then share it on my Facebook page. You don’t mind, do you? Oh, damn, there’s a queue for coffee now. Just our luck! Let’s call it a day! I’m glad you didn’t mind coming with me. I knew you’d enjoy it. We had such fun together, didn’t we?

23 thoughts on “Fashion Shopping for the Reluctant

  1. I’m in a funk. I know this was intended as humor, but it made me sad. The ‘you’ character sitting silently though a never ending patter of posturing reminds me of me at a meeting. Everyone showing off their knowledge while I sit mute. Possibly bemused, but growing increasingly insecure about my silence. You did a fantastic job capturing the dichotomy between the two. I think many of us have old, hung over friendships from a time before that operate on this level.

    Coursework? What course are you working on?

    1. Aww … Jeff. I’m sorry it made you sad. I know exactly what you mean, though. This isn’t a true story – although I have had friends like that in the past. I could only take so much of that! I’d be the same in a meeting. I’ve only been to the odd few over the last couple of years but always feel distinctly uncomfortable and out of my depth. I end up watching the clock and praying the time will pass quickly and that no one will ask me anything.

      The coursework? I’m doing a part-time course on ‘Creativity – the Arts and the Written Word.’ I’m a dead loss at the arts, though! I’ll concentrate on writing. I enjoy it far more anyway. It’s an online class using Zoom. It’s ideal for me as I don’t have the problem of accessing buildings etc. How I’m going to find time to study when my son and grandchildren move in, I really don’t know. Oh, yes – update on that post – it’s now not going to happen until the end of June. Phew! Thanks, Jeff

  2. BTW, I also should have said I really like the writing. I always get frustrated when I don’t hear stuff like that, but then withhold the same compliment from others. I think the pace of the story was really good as were the transitions in time and place. I also love all the British phrasing. I wish we used cool words like queue.

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Jeff. It’s much appreciated. I feel the same about your writing too. You’re one of my readers who I value and learn a lot from.

      It’s so annoying when you click on ‘post comment’ and then realise you’ve left something out that you meant to say. I do that too. There’s not always an option to edit a comment. I do what you’ve just done, and that’s to tag another comment on the end. And that’s absolutely fine.

      I feel it’s important to leave positive comments on bloggers’ posts – I think if someone has put their heart and soul into a piece of work, that deserves recognition and encouragement. I know that means a lot to me, so I daresay it does for others 😊.

      1. I’m talking more about the collective US than me, myself. If I used queue, people would think me pretentious. Other British words I love: torch, hob, rucksack, boot…

      2. Well, some people might. Others might think, “Hey, that’s cool, I think I’ll start using that word instead of ‘line’ too, as it’s less ambiguous”… after a while it would enter your language, all because of your, er, pretentiousness 😀

        While we’re on the subject, what do you think of the word ‘phlyarology’?

      3. I saw the word phlyarology in your profile. I wasn’t familiar with it so I had to look it up. I seem to follow a lot of bloggers interested in phlyarology. Makes for a challenging read sometimes. It’s dead center in the middle of our day, so I’m going to put wordpress to rest now, but I’ll be back to read your blog later on.

  3. I think you’ve accomplished your goal with this story very well. The enthusiasm of the shopper comes through so well. I can easily picture her talking a mile a minute, chipper, and getting distracted by different things all the time.

    1. Thank you so much, Sam. I very much enjoyed writing it. I virtually always write in the first person but rarely in the second or third person, so this was also quite a challenge for me. It’ll be interesting to hear what my tutor says about it; I have to email it off to her later today. Thanks for commenting.

  4. While reading this blog I can think of the scenes!!
    It was funny, how your friend was speaking a lot, while you were just quite!!
    A great story, I love the humour, I love the style 🙂
    Keep sharing

    1. Thank you very much, Devang. It was a very different experience writing about something that isn’t directly to do with my feelings and current circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it 😊

  5. something I found boring written from someone else’s perspective

    That’s an intriguing prompt, I might give that one a go myself at some point. I hope that you’ll continue to share more of them from this course of yours.

    I agree completely with Jeff’s comment: “You did a fantastic job capturing the dichotomy between the two.” It didn’t make me sad, though… I found the understated intermissions hilarious; I could imagine you silently fuming during them. Very well done!

    BTW, as you’re interested in writing, have you heard of Scribophile? I’ve used that in the past and can thoroughly recommend it. You can use it on a limited basis for free; a subscription gives you greater access (one of the things I particularly like about it is that they charge a non-recurring annual subscription fee, so I dip in and out of it now and then as the muse permits).

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, PeNdantry. I enjoyed writing this piece – it’s different to my usual style and was good fun to write. I’ve not heard of Scribophile, but I will look at that today. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  6. If I had the £3.50 I would have given it to the woman who was short of change, what an ordeal, poor thing. Shopping though, especially for clothes – can be draining, especially with other people, which came across in your story. 🛍

    1. Thanks for your comment, Cherryl. I have to confess that I’m not even keen on shopping for my own clothes, let alone someone else’s. I do have a friend (now, more of an acquaintance) who did exactly what the character does in my story. I try to avoid shopping with her nowadays! Thanks again.

      1. Probably best to shop without her, by the sound of it. 😊
        I’d rather shop alone for clothes as well, unless it’s just leisurely browsing, then I can go at my own pace/not worry about keeping someone else waiting if I’m taking forever in the fitting rooms or in one shop lol. The thing I dislike the most about offline/physical shopping – is that you can spend a whole day traipsing the shops and not find anything….the joys!!😏

        In shops, I notice a lot of them still have a lot of things on high rails, not wheelchair user friendly – as if the whole thing isn’t stressful enough at the best of times. Online shopping seems to be the general move forward these days…with everyone doing everything on their phones, 🤔

      2. I completely agree with you, Cherryl. I hate spending what seems like forever milling around the shops only to end up with nothing at the end of the day.

        As for accessibility in shops – don’t get me started on that one 😉. I come across rails hung up high frequently or so packed together that I can’t get my wheelchair through. It’s infuriating having to simply give up in some shops. On the other hand, if the shop has no consideration for its customers with disabilities, I now don’t shop there so they lose my custom. I must admit I do everything possible on my laptop which is far less trouble. As you say, more and more people are doing that these days anyway. I think that became more popular with the arrival of Covid when the shops were shut. I’d be lost without my laptop. Xx 💐

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