Friday, October 21, 2005

Spoilt for choice

Whenever and wherever I cross the hallowed portals of the Magnificient Mile in Chicago, you can be sure I’ll waltz out with something; however humble my acquisition may be. And what is more, the selection of that item will have taken a substantial amount of time. And this when I’m not one of those dazed, crazed individuals who haunts the aisles of America’s retailing emporia with starry eyes and a drunken gait. Faux malls like Foodworld, Pyramid’s, Westside etc. pale in comparison. And anyway, they don’t dot the landscape with such regularity.I love you, Walmart, Target and Payless Shoe Source. When I’m flush with the good stuff, I love you too, Banana Republic, Guess, Gap, Bath and Body Works, Godiva, Sears, and J C Penney. When I am absolutely loaded, I love Hollister and the like(note the conditional nature of this love...also, note that I have only named places where I actually made a purchase :-P )Even Walgreens Pharmacy has a certain charm. Can I forget the artistic stacks of multipurpose milk varieties in Walgreens and the marvelous supply of icky things that you simply must have? The experience is radically different from ambling along to the local supermarket or neighborhood chemist. You don’t have to ask uncle/ bhaiyya/ kaka (or their feminine counterparts): "Do you have black bobby pins?" or "Do you have a length of silver bunting?" or "Do you have the Temptations bar high on carbs with roasted almonds in it?"It’s always there. Whatever you want. In profusion. Time after time after time. But this stupendous consistency is not at the root of my purple passion. It’s just that I love the abundance and the arrangement of this country’s GRP: Gross Retail Produce. (Of course, China et al have a massive contribution to make.) To me, the important thing is that American retail shelves are piled high with a varied and plentiful cornucopia of goods, whatever their murky origins. I like to look. I like to buy. In a nutshell; I like to shop. Greed lies in the eye of this beholder. I pursue my prey with incredible patience and a firm belief in eventual satisfaction. If not today, then another day. Just don’t get any more expensive than you already are; please!I don’t keep accurate accounts and hence cannot track the trail of profligacy in my wake. But I will say that shoes and sport goods are exempt. They would never qualify as ‘useless’ :-) The most useless thing that comes to mind is a 50 cent sticky pad from Walmart. But I guess you can hardly complain about something that costs less than a dollar! The best buy I’ve made this summer is the Brit perfume for my dad. It’s a Burberry. The less said the better though, one would think I am succumbing to this flush-with--choice experience. :)