Stet by Ria Bacon

Monday, May 09, 2005


Having cleared out my wardrobe of winter clothes, there were gaping spaces just crying out to be filled, so we went shopping. Here's what I picked up.

In Benetton, I had to wait for 90 minutes to pay for a summer dress for my daughter. There was no queue, but there was no one to take my money either. All five staff were grouped round a table, refolding T-shirts angrily and giving smouldering scowls at anyone who came within range. I caught a glimpse of a woman waiting outside the changing rooms.Witch Hazel shops at Benetton She had a classic look, that of a homely witch, with a huge barrel-shaped body, hairy wart on her chin and electro-shocked black hair. She looked like Hazel Witch without the hat. Moments later, her daughter (about ten years old) came out wearing a cute white cotton blouse. She looked EXACTLY like her mother! She spun round in front of the full-length mirror admiring herself. Her mother laughed happily and shouted over to one of the sales women, "Are you sure that's an XL??"

In Coin department store, there was a queue for the swimsuit changing rooms. I'm absolutely not fattist but I sometimes think there should be a professional mother-type outside the changing rooms vetting what goes in with whom. She could just roll her eyes or purse her lips. In the absence of such a mute arbiter, I watched a well-built girl come out and give a twirl in a skin-tight top - it looked like a sausage liner round her waist and showed a suspension bridge bra strap across her back. Her boyfriend's eyes also bulged when she said, "You know what? I think I need the XS."

As more girlfriends squeezed into the changing rooms and the queue got no shorter, I snuck across to the children's section changing rooms. As part of our cunning plan, Mr B grabbed a couple of kid's dungarees and stood guard nonchalantly outside.

On leaving Coin, I noticed their department guide* on the wall:
  • Uomo
  • Donna
  • Accessori
  • Coinbambini
  • Futility
  • Futility Office

Futility Office. I LIKE it - honest and direct.

* I was going to call it a drop-down menu.
And sometimes when I'm scanning a text on paper, I mentally think of doing CTRL-F.