Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Behind the scenes

Returning readers (if they do exist) might have gathered that most of my purchases are made in my (75 min) lunch-break. As the place where I am ungainfully employed happens to be located right in the city centre, I don't want to waste the precious time I'm let out of my cage for on actually going to a restaurant for lunch (unless I have a date with someone who hasn't joined shopaholics anonymous yet and is reluctant to dash in and out of stores with me...) but use it for retail therapy instead. Not only is this very rewarding pastime, but it's so good for you in so many ways: You get a bit of fresh air, exercise (when you look at the watch and realise you'll have to run in order to make it back to the office on time) plus you can pride yourself of single-handedly keeping the national economy afloat. I'm actually waiting for the Chamber of Commerce to present me with a medal for my efforts any time now.

On a typical lunch-break-spree, I either prowl the shops on my own, or with FCN. It goes like this. In the middle of a particularly boring morning in the office (trust me, they all are) I call her (or vice versa).

Me: Morning, darling. And? As comatose as usual?
FCN: Well, almost, I'm reading [my 250th book this year]. Any plans for your lunch-break?
Me: Naaah. You?
FCN: Nope. Well, I just wanted to pop into Esprit [H&M/ Stefanel/ Zara] to check whether they have a jumper to go with the trousers I ordered from La Redoute.
Me: You ordered another pair of trousers? Geez, you're getting worse than me! Anyway, Esprit suits me fine. I just need to find some fishnet tights to match the skirt I got yesterday. Can you please make sure I won't buy anything other than that today?

At 12:30 on the dot, FCN and Retailtherapist meet at the time clock in the minuscule entrance hall of Coma HQ. After a brief rant about the latest brainwaves of our pint-sized superiors and extraterrestrial room-mates we get down to business. By 13:45 at the latest (we don't have flexitime so need to arrive on time or else have to face red print on the time card and a harangue by the head of the accounting department. If you punch in a mere minute too late you need to see that person for a signature on your card and let him scold you like a school-girl. Yep, the Japanese they love their hierarchies...) FCN and Retailtherapist return to Coma HQ laden down with bags. We always instruct each other to keep the other from spending any money but at least one of us (usually me) inevitably does.

I can't decide whether I should be proud of FCN for being such a faithful disciple and willing convert (see, when I first met her, she wasn't into shopping to such an alarming degree at all) or shocked. Unlike me, she's not into amassing clutter, doesn't swoon over objects that could be described as "cute", "girly" or "original" and as she hardly wears any make-up or jewellery that category is ruled out as well. She almost exclusively splashes out on clothes and books. And unlike me, the queen of bargain-hunting (yes, I do know that 3 cheap things you don't really need amount to the same as one expensive item so you might as well just buy that one instead), she's not afraid to whip out her VISA card for purchases in the 3-digit (Euro) range. Did you know Esprit had platinum store cards? I didn't either until they sent FCN one...

So if you happen to see two (young and gorgeous looking, even if I do say so myself) thirtysomethings, roaming Graben and Kärntner Straße with fierce determination and occasional hectic looks at their watches, elbowing skiving students, desperate housewives and retirees out of their way (they can bloody well shop some other time!), that will be us.
My down coat was the best investment ever. Not only does it serve its purpose in the sub-zero temperatures we're having but apart from keeping me warm it's kuschelig (there is no good translation for this German adjective which can mean "cosy" and "comfy" as well as "cuddly") beyond belief. I think I'm in love.

Lunch-break purchases: From today's (solo) mission I returned with groceries only. Sorry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I didn't realise you were talking about me until I saw the young thirtysomething appear! Bit embarrassed about the platinum card, though. Will wait and see if I was as successful last year as the one before! The suspense may kill me. Then again the Japanese might get there before.

1/10/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger onemorehandbag said...

Dear Platinum-Brains - I knew that bit of (self-) flattery would work...

1/10/2006 05:04:00 PM  

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