Once upon a time I scribbled out a rant that, as it grew, morphed into an "I Hate Generic" manifesto. Then this blog was born. It was created as a forum for blowing off steam. Over the last (almost) two years, it has become many other things.
But forgive me while I return to my roots.
I've been in a frenzy trying to complete my final projects before graduation, while simultaneously trying to pack up my life (I'm moving out of my place the same day I graduate and also the same day I fly off into the wild blue yonder for two months).
I had a brief window of opportunity this evening to run out and buy a pair of sandals for my summer travels. I did some research online to figure out what I wanted so I wouldn't end up wasting more time and energy than necessary.
What I want (in a nutshell): good quality sandals that will survive ambulating around Mexico City and through Aztec ruins and then all around Manhattan. Not so difficult, right?
I despise the mall with my entire being and in the last three years I have only gone three times (three times too many). I found some shoes online at Nordstrom that looked promising, so despite my mall-phobia, I huffed it to Nordstrom with my very specific mission.
I detest the snobbery of Nordstrom. It's not like it's Neiman Marcus or Saks or Harrod's, but for some reason it has a superiority complex.
I went wearing exactly what I'd been wearing all day: cut-off shorts, my grandfather's old flannel shirt, and a pair of flip flops. I walked straight to the sandals I had seen online. I saw two preening salesmen fops glance at me and curl their lips in disgust. Ignoring them, I picked up the shoe, and to my dismay, it was a flimsy piece of crap. The sole was a piece of stiff plastic and looked like it would snap after two steps. The straps had shoddy stitching that was already sprouting in places.
I walked over to one of the fops and said, "Hi, I'm just wondering if you have a similar sandal in another brand."
"Hmm... uh..." (eyeballing me up and down) "noooooo."
"Okay, do you know if another Nordstrom might? I'm just looking for a better quality shoe," I said.
He smiled condescendingly at me, his nostrils flaring slightly, and said, "Are you looking for a specific designer?"
"No, I just want a shoe that's not unraveling already," I said, involutarily aping his facial contortion.
He stared at me coldly without responding, his arms crossed impudently across his chest. Silence.
"Is that a no?" I asked.
"Mmmhmm," he purred.
Right. Here's the thing. I'm not a cheapskate, but I'm thrifty (I just converted four winter dresses into sundresses so I wouldn't have to buy summer clothes). I like quality, but I'm not a label snob. I'm anti-recreational shopping and firmly believe in only buying items that last, thereby avoiding falling prey to the culture of obsolescence.
But wow. I'm kind of stunned by the whole mall experience. That place is soulless, full of stale air, heavy with migraine-inducing (well, poisonous) fragrances. It was full of chintzy, ludicrously overpriced crap that is designed to only last one season. According to multiple sources who study consumerism, 99% of all purchases in the United States are trashed within six months.
What is wrong with people? I'm really not trying to wax philosophical or get all Don DeLillo White Noise or something, but the whole picture is just dismal. People go and shell out hard earned dollars for trash. Literal trash. And the buying experience is trash too. There's no joy in it and it makes me feel filthy.
Anyway. That's my rant. I still don't have sandals. Can anyone empathize?