The times they are a changing

We had a couple of days with some good weather this week so I took myself off on Friday for a couple of hours of retail therapy window shopping, browsing and some well needed exercise. There was an eerie feeling about the place not because I was almost accosted by a witch in the first shop I entered to inform me of the bargains. Yes, a witch in full costume and a large pointy hat! There was only one other customer in the premises for the duration and besides the ‘witch two other members of staff approached me to say “There is another 30% off everything in the store”!

Not seeing anything I liked or needed, I moved on to the next shop. Again some of the staff seemed in party mood or at least party dress and only a handful of customers were about the store – more browsing than shopping. It all had a feeling of late January, about a week before pay cheques were due, when people were tired of the self enforced abstinence from shops and spending. It was Hallowe’en, mid-term break from schools and in previous years, time for the early birds to make a start on Christmas shopping.

I did see a lovely lined tailored waistcoat in the third shop and the ticket said £35. There were about eight of them on the rack in various sizes. All but my size had a red square sticker over the top of the hanger announcing a further reduction. Knowing that I would get good mileage with the waistcoat I took it to the pay desk. The girl scanned it for me and true enough it was reduced to just £7, I had checked it well and there were no flaws so I bought it.

In another store there were several women of my vintage looking at overcoats. One lady had a beautiful coat on and she was walking up and down. The assistant was pushing hard to sell it by telling her how much it suited her; I wanted to scream! The coat would have looked well on me ( I had no interest in buying it), I was at least eight inches taller, a slimmer build and thanks to my mother’s bony pointed finger poked in my back on a regular basis to remind me to stand up straight, could carry it off. The little lady now sporting it was a victim of middle age spread, she was not fat but a little plumper in build. The coat fit where it hit! Alas around her waist it sat at the back like a concertina and she was unable to see it. The friend she had with her was not much help either! I hovered for a few minutes and realised that the woman wanted it to fit, indeed she willed it to fit, so I bit my tongue and went on my way. That is why I like to shop for clothes when on my own.

As I walked close by a line of pay desks in another store a young lady ran quickly past me. At this stage it was late afternoon. She had a small package in her hand, but I was more distracted by her outfit. Her dress was Red, the neckline low and the skirt was short indeed very short and I could see the top of her black fishnet stockings. Ah ha! I thought she must be off to a hen party. Then I thought it was a little early in the day for that. She made her purchase and ran from the shop. It was at this stage I realised that all the while I had the camera in my pocket. What a waste of opportunity.

Working my way back to the car park I made one more stop, I could do with some new slippers. Working my way through the isles in the foot-ware store to where I would find my shoe size, who should greet me and ask if I needed help but the ‘Lady in Red’. This time the fishnets were replaced with plain black tights. I discovered the young lady was called Cora and she was also part of the Fancy dress brigade. The whole centre was involved in a week long party with staff encouraged to wear fancy dress. Not everyone went along with the idea but those that did seemed to enjoy the event. Cora said that her outfit seemed fine at home but wearing hold-up stockings when you are not used to them was not a good idea for work. She agreed to having her photo taken and here she is:

Thank you Cora, you brightened my day!

11 thoughts on “The times they are a changing

  1. Baino

    GrannyMar you’re very brave. I’d love to photograph people doing what people do but I’m not brave enough to ask. Have you noticed that since the ‘economic downturn’ things are on sale. Bought two T shirts in David Jones (rather posh dept. store in Sydney) for $10 because the the ‘colours’ weren’t fashionable.

  2. steph


    What’s happening to this world of ours?

    Why do shopping centres think that we need to be entertained with sales assistants in fancy dress?

    Stop the world, I want to get off!

    *stomps off in a grump*

  3. kenju

    My daughter and I were shopping once, when she was about 14, and she was hell-bent to have a sweater she was trying on. I didn’t like the color of it (tannish gold), but I had not said so yet.

    A woman in the store approached our area, and I recognized her as one of our local radio personalities. She was very tall, as are we. She overheard our conversation about the sweater – I was trying to get my daughter to look around for something else and she was adamant about that sweater. The radio woman asked if she could interrupt and we said certainly. She told me daughter that the sweater’s color did absolutely nothing for her; that the color washed her face out, it was not long enough and she’d do well to look for something brighter. My daughter backed down about it and I could have kissed that woman!! Maybe you should have said something. LOL

  4. Grannymar Post author


    Nowadays I talk to everyone and if I want a photo I just ask. Never been refused yet!

  5. TheChrisD

    Awww, all those bargains yesterday… And yet I didn’t find my Sweet Chilli Royale marked down, but rather marked up, because it was in a bread bun rather than a baguette!

  6. Grannymar Post author

    @Steph – Everything seems to have a theme nowadays. I suppose it had something to do with the lead into Hallowe’en. I know at Christmas time in the past few years the staff in various department stores wore Santa hats.

    @Judy – Having hovered and listened I knew that my intrusion would not be welcome! I have in the past spoken up and it was appreciated.

    @ChrisD – People have to eat, so food will be the last thing to be reduced. The big reductions are on things we can actually live without!

  7. Darlene

    The checkers in my grocery store were all dressed in costume for Halloween. My girl was Snow White and she didn’t look too happy having that high collar around her neck.

  8. Magpie11

    Shudder! Shopping with my mother! Always trying on hats

    Cured her though..aged 14 and being dragged around yet again i beat her to the hats…picked up the most outrageous one with a HUGE brim and bright red…slapped it on my head a declaimed at the top of my not inconsiderable voice….”Will this one do?” embarrassed mother never forced her son to go shopping again…

    mind you…I enjoy shopping for myself and any one else as long as I’ve got control of the dosh!

  9. Grannymar Post author

    @Darlene – Clothes to the neck sound better in a food store!

    @Magpie – Don’t start me on hats. My mother was in millinery, as I believe was my mother-in-law! Jack and I had similar memories of shopping for hats!

  10. stephanie

    You remind me I should purchase a small camara to go in my bag at all times. Not that I will snap shots of ladies in red, but because there are more times then not I realize too late a Kodac moment slipping by.
    As for shopping, I have 3 friends in rotation to go with me at all times. Alas, I am often the woman you described, willing a garment to appear in the mirror as it does in my head. Thank goodness for my designated truth tellers who are good enough friends to tell me when it’s just not happening, no matter how much it pains me.

    I hope you found your comfy slippers. I firmly believe they are in the top ten category of necessities.

  11. Grannymar

    Hi Stephanie

    Having a camera in your pocket is great fun… if the batteries work. Mine died while I was out just now. It was cold and frosty.

    Enjoy Elly’s visit, she is winging her way as I type. I spoke to her in the airport this am (our time) before she boarded her flight.


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