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Sticker shock at the department stores

First Posted: 2:17 am - August 11th, 2015

Sandi McBride - Contributing Columnist



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So the other day when we were in Florence for doctor appointments (seems that’s about it for a day on the town anymore) I had the dubious pleasure of visiting the Magnolia Mall.

We walked in at 9:45 only to find that the mall was — you won’t believe this — closed. Well, the mall itself was open, just no shops. Kirkland’s was closed, Belk and JC Penney had yet to roll up the wire doors…just no one. Bankers don’t get those hours. And for the love of all that’s holy, even Barnes and Noble had not opened their sleepy eyes.

I had 15 minutes to kill before Mac had to go in to get his eye exam (I’m telling you, people, you know you are old when you schedule everything on the same day) and unable to browse in B&N, we walked (walking is good for you) from one end of the one-story mall to the other.

On our return I stood in front of B&N like a puppy at the back door of a restaurant. Finally, 10 a.m. arrived and as Mac went in for his exam, I went for the books. You know, I’m like a drunk…I can stop anytime I want. I just don’t want to yet.

There are so many new things out that it’s hard to choose. I saw Fanny Flagg had a new book out and so as not to have wasted my trip, I bought it. I went back over to Lenscrafters and found Mac patiently waiting for me. He ordered his new spectacles and out we headed to Mall Central.

After walking around a bit, Mac decided he was going to sit in the chair area for awhile. I left him happily talking to another unfortunate male who had been dragged to the mall. Fishing was the topic of conversation (color me surprised?) as I walked over to Belk.

I wandered though the “ladies’ junk,” as my sons always called it. Dresses, skirts, blouses, slacks and lingerie. I was absolutely gobsmacked at the prices. Now, my shopping gene is as strong as it ever was, but apparently my inability to get to the “real” department stores (such grand prices must have grand titles) had blinded me to how much it cost to make some of these apparent treasures.

I went from rack to rack seeing prices like $125 and $119. I found one shirt hanging over a pair of jeans — the price tag was $74. It was just for the shirt. I left hurriedly and went to where Mac was sitting with the other fella.

“Find anything?” he asked. I told him I couldn’t believe the prices. They were marked down from “You’ve got to be kidding” to “Expensive.” I told him I was going over to JC Penney, and off I went.

It was the same story inside. Everything was so high you’d need a second job to pay for it and they thought so much of themselves they had one of those set-ups like in the bank, a fence to keep you moving by the cashier — only problem was there were no customers to take advantage of this “stay in line” mechanism.

I left there and wandered over to a gift shop to see if I could find an Old English sheepdog in their porcelain section.

A prissy little man with an honest-to-heaven monocle on followed me around as though I might slip something up my sleeve. Now, I don’t think I looked like a thief, but I didn’t tarry. As I was leaving I heard him say, “Please come again, Madam.”

I almost turned around to tell him not to call me Madam…hell, I’m not that old. Nor is that my occupation, whatever he was inferring! So I rejoined Mac at the center of the mall. He and his new friend were talking about stripers…that’s a fish.

He raised his eyebrows at my empty arms. I shook my head. “Everything is so expensive, and the worst part of it is, most of it was ugly,” I complained.

As we headed off to pick up his glasses, he put his arm around me and said, “That’s all right, baby, we’ll stop at Walmart on the way home.”

God, I love that man!

Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.

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Sandi McBride

Contributing Columnist

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