Friday, December 05, 2008

Yule at the Mills

Hey Y'all. So today I had to acquire shoes for a very important event tomorrow night, which I'll tell you all about once it has happened. If I don't chicken out. See how I'm using my blog to hold myself accountable to being social? Go me.

Anyway, I went over to Opry Mills on my lunch break to track down footwear at Off Broadway shoes. Which, by the way, is a place for super deals. I found a great pair of shoes for about $50, and found the exact same shoes on for $75. Always try Off Broadway FIRST. The place was crowded with teenagers (wasn't this a school day? is there some sort of federally sanctioned holiday I don't know about?) who were yelling back and forth about the keeeeyyyyuuuuuute shoes they were trying on. That pretty much denigrated into a bunch of girls throwing their socks at each other, and it was funny.

Outside the store there were a bunch of little 6- or 7-year-olds, I'm guessing a choir, zipping through their entire catalog of Christmas songs. I would not go so far as to say singing, it was more like yelling at the top of their lungs. I can't blame them, it gets really loud in there, and the poor things were standing outside the Rainforest Cafe with all those creepy loud automated gorillas and monkeys and whatnot. It was still really cute.

If you haven't been to a "Mills" type outlet mall (the only two I've been to are Opry Mills here in Nashville, and Concord Mills in Charlotte), I'll give you the rundown. The place is MASSIVE. So big that it is parcelled into "Timezones" (they're actually called "Neighborhoods" but that doesn't feel big enough to me). It is arranged in a circle, and somebody told me it is a mile to walk around the whole thing. It would be easy to spend several hours if not an entire day there. But since I'm in town and work relatively close by, I can skip all the wandering and just hit whatever store I need. Which is usually the shoe store, or the Lane Bryant Outlet, and sometimes the huge tool shop store (I forget what it's called- Workshop Tools maybe? and there's no way to make Tool Shop not sound sort of dirty) or the Bass Pro store just to wander in and see what you can find. Nashville gets a lot of tourists, and today I saw some girl wearing lace tights, which I hadn't seen around here in real life. So I guess Opry Mills is some happening fashion scene now (it so isn't, that was sarcasm).

It should go without saying that at Christmas this place is a mob scene. I don't even want to think about how it looked on Black Friday. But if you go at lunch time on a week day and it isn't too close to Christmas, the crowds aren't bad at all. I can handle that. I can handle the traffic. I can handle screaming children and grumpy grandparents leaving the Build-A-Bear Workshop. I can handle the snooty junior league types ignoring all traffic patterns as they leave Casual Corner and Saks Off 5th. I can even handle the obnoxious gangs of teenage boys lallygagging around the door of Spencer's Gifts.

What I CANNOT handle are the unbelievably pushy sales people at the kiosks. You know, those little carts in the middle of the mall that sell things like personalized license plates, cell phone covers, tacky jewelry, and calendars. Or the super crafty ones that have items like microwaveable heating pads for your neck, or "Red Sea Aromatherapy Nail Oil Diffuser Jeweled Creations". Or the 10 minute massages offered by little Asian men. Or the perfume counter where a guy made eye contact with me from about 50 feet away and then yelled "HEY! LADY! WHAT PERFUME DO YOU WEAR?!" Clearly, defensive move #1 is to avoid eye contact.

The sales techniques these people use could probably be studied by marketing companies around the world. They always ask if they can ask you a question. I HATE that. You've just asked me a question. (You just get 1, looks like you've used it up.) And people hate to be rude, so they're not likely to say "No." Defensive move #2, pretend you don't speak English. Or pretend you are deaf. Because once you get trapped into answering questions you're either going to spend a lot of time or a lot of money at that kiosk. Saying "No, thank you" really looks ridiculous when someone asks to ask something, but I do it anyway.

And then there are the people who want to touch you. Ew. They want to use a straightening iron on your hair, or they want to buff your nails, or they want to clean your jewelry, or they want to rub some sort of mystical healing ointment into your arm. But the one that creeps me out the most are the massage chairs. Today one of those little women had her hands all in someones hair giving her a head and neck massage. GROSS. If I'm going to get a massage I'm going to go somewhere and get naked and get a real professional to beat on my body for a while. I'm not getting that sort of attention in public.

The absolute worst of the kiosks for me is the one that sells the helicopters or boomerangs or other flying toys. The guys who work there (it's always guys because girls wouldn't just throw stuff around like that) fling them up in the air, high above all those people, and then non-chalantly catch them as they careen back down to earth. And I have an irrational, probably clinical, fear that one of them will land on my head when they're out of my line of vision. (I'd probably be knocked unconscious in the middle of the food court, and no one would notice my lifeless body until closing time. OR I'd come down with a crash that would draw a lot of attention and crack a tile. And in that case of course I wouldn't be so lucky as to get knocked unconscious and carted away in an ambulance to recover in peace at the hospital with a mild case of amnesia. No. I'd be completely lucid and have to make a statement to the security guard and he'd write up a report and tell me that he'd never seen someone fall on a floor that hard, and he'd have to find a cone and some caution tape for the huge crack someone could get a stiletto caught in. And I'd really REMEMBER the incident clearly and not come to Opry Mills again out of sheer embarrassment. Yes, this is how my mind works.) So I tend to walk very quickly past that particular demonstration.

Christmas is coming. Stay out of the Mills!

No comments: