A Shopping Excursion

by Sam

I'm not sure what I'm doing here. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't even come within two steps of the door to this store! Everything is so overpriced. But Anna likes to wear these brand-name clothes, so here we are. The music playing overhead is loud and unfamiliar, and the walls of the store are very white and pristine. Headless mannequins dressed in doll-sized clothes are posed over neatly organized tables of clothing with their pale hands on their skinny waists, a staggering change from the haphazardness of the clothing displays at the places I normally shop. The whole atmosphere of the place is completely foreign. I skirt around the displays of $30 shirts carefully, while Anna cruises past me towards them.

She holds a pink striped polo to her chest and turns to face me. "What do you think?" she asks, striking the same pose as the mannequin overseeing the display.

What do I think? I reach out for the little tag hanging from the shirt. "Thirty-nine fifty?" I exclaim, bewildered. The shirt is small and obviously tightly fitted, and the stripes are fairly standard. Why would anyone pay $40 for your ordinary polo? I ask Anna this. "You could probably get something like this for ten bucks somewhere else," I tell her honestly.

She shrugs, and with a flip of her dark hair, she goes back to ruffling through the stack of shirts. I stand by, feeling like a dandelion in a rose garden. Everywhere I look there are fashionably dressed people, looking utterly unconcerned about the costs of the shirts and jeans hanging on their arms. I, on the other hand, am fully conscious of the money being tossed around.

Anna resurfaces from the pile with a new polo in hand. "What about this one?"

It is a mud brown polo lined with a cantaloupe-like orange on the hem. It doesn't flatter Anna very much at all, but I say, "It's all right, I guess. The colors areā€¦" I struggle. "They're okay," I finish, and look away at a black and white photo of a boy and a girl laughing that is hanging near the ceiling.

"I think I'll get it," Anna says, more to herself than to me. She drapes the shirt on her arm and moves on to a rack of jeans. A sign hangs above, declaring the jeans to be a great buy at sixty dollars, a fraction of the original price. I follow Anna cagily, feeling substandard in my own well-worn, ten-dollar jeans.