I wouldn’t say I have claustrophobia issues. And I wouldn’t say that I’m a recluse who lives in her basement, petting her cats whilst eating canned goods. I’m totally good going out and functioning as a normal human being with the rest of the general population.
That is … until there are crowds.
Yesterday I attended a pre-party for a store opening. Philly is bursting at the seams right now with amazing new shopping venues. Which you would think would make me the happier than a clam, which, in a way, I am, don’t get me wrong. But when the words “pre-party” and “free” and “tote bags” and “alcohol” and “free alcohol” get tossed around to the public, it gives people this idea that they can act like complete assholes in public and not consider their fellow man. So run. RUN FAST.
I don’t know what I was expecting, a butler wearing white gloves serving me a chilled glass of champagne as I walk in, greeting me with a, “welcome kate, your shopping destination awaits,” escorting me in to another butler who hands me a tote bag filled to the brim with branded good and gift cards. The aisles are cleared and the perfectly organized designer goods on the glimmering silver racks wait patiently as I prepare to shop. A few lovely, calm people in pristine outfits flutter about me, shopping quietly as they sip on their champagne. As I make my way to the second floor, another butler in white gloves notices my champagne needs to be refreshed as I make my way to the shoe section. As I go to sit down to try on a pair of Louboutins on sale for $100, the butler comes over and offers me a lovely shoulder massage.
And then I woke up.
In real life, pre-party store openings aren’t like that. You think it is all exclusive and shit, but it isn’t. It is like walking into a jungle. You need to take off any extra layers, remove your hoops, and go in ready for battle.
I wish I had a pic of my face the minute I walked into the store. First of all it was 100 degrees, and second of all, there were SO many people, I could barely tell if I was staring at men’s clothing or women’s clothing. And no one moved. No. One. It was like I was having an outer body experience and didn’t exist to these people. I started walking around just to well, walk around. I think I was scared that if I stayed stationary too long someone would try to buy the clothes off of my body.
The only way I could describe the look in these people’s eyes was ravenous. You could tell they would do anything and everything for the free goods and insane deals before anyone else got their hands on them. I literally was a bumbling fool, wandering around in circles, making my way through people (which was no easy task) as “excuse me” didn’t work, and pushing past them only led them to offer me with a lovely, “ummm bitch” comment.
I looked around and saw some people had their shopping bags filled to the brim with goods, and I wondered how they could shop in such conditions. I contemplated exploring the accessories section, as it looked much calmer than the rest, but the idea of picking up a statement necklace and having some crazy broad bite my hand off (literally and figuratively) freaked me out far too much. So I went to make my grand escape.
I shoved through people, who, again, literally did not give a shit that I existed, only when I went against what I believe in and shoved past them without an “excuse me,” which awoke them from their shopping haze to notice that I was, indeed, a bitch messing with their space. Yikes. I ran to the exit, only to find that it was only an “entrance.” What? There is clearly a door to exit here, but no no … I’ll walk across the entire store through these crazy free shit hungry bastards to the OTHER “real” exit, no worries. I’m sure I’ll emerge unscathed.
I took a second to find a safe path, free of crazytown shoppers, which entailed a lot of zig-zagging through racks of unimpressive men’s clothing (these people probably thought I was the crazy one). I finally made my way to the real exit and was greeted by a man who met me with a, “I hope you enjoyed shopping with us!” I rolled my eyes at him and shoved through the revolving doors, wanting to rip off my clothing as I was sweating profusely.
Annoyed. Hot. Overwhelmed. Anxiety-ridden. And not a new piece of clothing on my person. I was straight up miserable. You would think all of that commotion happened in hours, but it truly happened in less than 15 minutes. I won’t give away the name of this store because I do adore it, and look forward to the day I can shop there in peace. Without the free goods. Without the insane people.
But for now, until everyone gets over their “new shiny penny” syndrome, I will be calmly and quietly shopping at the old dusty stores people are SO over. Because one thing I learned about myself is mama cannot handle shopping crowds.