Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Scares = Gift Bags

Yes, I know, I'm a Halloween person. October is the scary time, Christmas is the peaceful time. Well, it's supposed to be the peaceful time, but with all the shopping, wrapping, traveling, cooking, it's rarely peaceful.

That being said then, why do you, the faithful reader, find a post near the end of December that has to do with something frightening? I would answer: That is a good question, to your hypothetical query.

Very few things about Christmas scare me, other than it's massive consumption of most of the calender year. But every year, inevitably something happens when I find myself more uncomfortable than when I was in high school, trying to muster up the courage to ask someone to go with me to the semi-formal.

When I wake up and look under my tree, or when I go to my family's houses, or when I exchange gifts with friends, I will no doubt, eventually find myself at the mercy of a gift bag.

Now I understand that gift bag is a nice and simple way to wrap one's presents. It's efficient, is a reusable resource, saves paper, can be made to look extremely festive, and it is easy to carry a number of presents in one convenient carrying device. One could argue that its the cheap way out of wrapping, but I would counter that if you've ever received a wrapped present from me, then you'd understand why some people need to rely upon bags.

But when one is plopped down in front of you, a panic ensues. Here is a supposed self conversation or "self talk" as Lev Vygotski would label it, when the brain receives the neurological impulses that are coded to spell "gift bag."

Friend: Here, before you go, you have to open up your presents.

Brain: Presents? I can't wait! I'm barely able to release a chemical into your system to restrain you from ripping open the wrapping paper like a rabid animal, I'm so excited.

You: Oh, you didn't have too.

Friend: No, no, it's the holidays and we're friends, how can I not?

Brain: You're darn right it's the holidays, you were going to be shunned if there weren't presents after I helped you move last month.

You: What a lovely surprise!

Friend: Here you go...*sets down gift bag in front of you*

Brain: bag...look panicked now. Let's's a rather big large gift...or several small? You've been sitting here with your mouth open for five minutes, say something you idiot.

You: Wow, what a festive bag.

Friend: I know, I found it at the Dollar Tree.

Brain: Dollar Tree eh? Can't splurge on nice wrapping paper...alright that probably means its several small and inexpensive gifts. Approach with caution. Here's some serotonin so you can feign enthusiasm.

You: Wow, a book light? This is useful because I read books!

Brain: Bring it down a notch Tallulah...alright that was too small of a package to be the only thing in that bag...slowly and humbly reach in again...

Friend: I hope you like this next gift.

Brain: Let me guess...I'm a brain, guessing's what I do...a book?

You: A coupon for a free Frosty? Wow!

Friend: Well I know how much you like desert.

Brain: Which is true...but you didn't notice the Cold Stone that just opened up?

You: I can't wait to use this.

Brain: the tricky there anything else in that bag...two was a good number...three might be pushing it...stop drooling...if you go to look and there's nothing, you'll look like an idiot sifting through tissue paper...and you might seem smart way out is to pretend like you think there's nothing else in the bag...people should write a number on the bag indicating the number of items inside.

You: That's it?

Brain: Damn...did I make you say that out loud? Uh oh..say something clever...don't hurt feelings.

You: It's your job to think.

Brain: Don't let them know that...okay, now you look crazy...tell them how stressed you are.

You: Sorry, its just my family is driving me nuts this time of year and I just lost my job and the Niners aren't in the play offs...I guess what I meant is that I could sure use more than one Frosty, I'm very appreciative and this small gesture of friendship is probably the most heart warming gift I've gotten all year.

Friend: Aww well thank you, it was just something small.

Brain: Wow...well's some more serotonin....great...your passed out on the floor now...maybe that was too much.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hollister Needs To Stop

This post has been brewing for some time. Every time it almost becomes manifest, something else distracts it, or something else becomes more pertinent. But with the Holiday Season here and most people spending more time at shopping centers, this post can no longer be denied.


Some clarifications before we continue:
  • All of these examples are based upon the mall I most frequent. My mall is on the smaller side, which probably adds to the frustration.

  • The Hollister in my mall is located extremely close to the JC Penny's, which is the store from which I usually enter the mall because of it's close proximity to Auntie Anne's Pretzels...those sugar cinnamon pretzels are phenomenal.

  • I know other stores are guilty of what is about to be commented on, but those other stores don't exist inside this mall.

Why is it that Hollister and related popular and horribly over priced clothing stores feel the need to pollute their stores and subsequently the mall(s) with their offensive air perfume? What good does this do? I don't appreciate going into that store and then hating how I smell when I come out. The smell literally makes me sick because it is so overpowering. When you put on cologne you put on like what, one...two sprays at most? I remember when I was in 7th grade how awful the locker room would smell after gym class and the guys would be changing back into their normal clothes. They would use entire bottles or cans of cologne so that they still smelt nice. It made me sick, gave me a headache, and now I smelt like eight different fragrances because there were so many in the air. Hollister's air perfume is so strong and potent that it reminds me of a high school locker room. That's not a good thing. Also...can it be healthy to be inhaling that all day if you work there?

So the main complaint here is that Hollister is being horribly intrusive. Yeah I know that the smell literally reeks of "popular." Yes I know it is a marketing technique that most in some way be effective because Hollister is still around and charging young Americans $150 for a coat that looks exactly like a $45 coat that I saw at the Bon-Ton. (Which by the way...we say Bon- Tawn...but the word is spelt"felt like that weighed a ton." Why did this store purposefully mispronounce a word?) Also, I thought Hollister was a beach/summer themed store? Why selling these coats? Are they so unused to coats that have to jack the price to make up for all the initial investment for a coat pattern, coat engineers, and coat materials?

The smell wouldn't bother me if it wasn't so omnipresent. If it only existed inside the store and perhaps floated just outside of it so that a passerby might smell the air perfume and perhaps be becokened to enter this dark and mysterious place then fine. But I can smell it from almost every store in the mall. Especially when I first walk in at Penny's. I get halfway into the store and I can't even see out into the mall yet and I can smell Hollister, right by the escalators. I constantly hear Penny's employees complaining about the odor. It literally lingers throughout the mall as if a cheap undercutting ploy. Its like a witch doctor has created this sentient potion that goes out into the other stores and enters your body through your nose and implants a message into your brain as if it's hypnotising you: "Come...come to Hollister and spend more money for goods of a similar quality." When I"m at F.Y.E or Game Stop, or Spencer's Gifts (what...I like their hats) I don't want to be thinking about Hollister, yet it is impossible because of this horribly intrusive and repugnant odor.

Equally as intrusive is how the store front literally juts out into the mall thoroughfares. This picture show an example of how ridiculous a Hollister store front can actually be. It literally narrows the walking space in the mall because across from Hollister, in the middle of the walkway, is a T-Mobile stand filled with employees who just shout at you, "what kinda cell phone you got?" On the other side of that is an Aerie, which also used Air Perfume, but unlike Hollister, it stays inside the store and just barely filters out the front door. All this makes this particular stretch of the mall difficult to navigate because the Hollister side's smell makes me sick and there is seriously very little space due to how far out the store is, I want to avoid the annoying guys at T-Mobile, and I really have no reason to go into Aerie. Seriously, those two big pillars are like these giant hands trying to reach out to mall patrons and grab the money right out of their pockets, if only as a fee for, "smelling our scent."

So all in all Hollister needs to tone it down a notch. When I go to the mall, I want to go to the mall, not a huge Hollister. If I ever get a Hollister rep to read this, please please please pull down the lever on the air perfume. It's not good for anything really. Maybe if I go shopping at the mall after a football game and I'm all sweaty and gross but I didn't have time to shower, I'll hop into Hollister and let the air perfume saturate my clothing to help mask my smell, but that's really about it, and I usually don't go to the mall right after football games.

Did anyone ever think this: That smell is so overpowering that they have to go through a lot of it. Maybe the cost of that odor is so high, that's why Hollister has to charge an arm and a leg for their clothing. Maybe if they stopped polluting the mall air, their prices could be more reasonable.

Agree/Disagree? Leave a comment.