The Blog of Survival Part 4: Shopping
There are three kinds of shopping trips.
1. Your parents need clothes. Avoid this at all costs.
2. Your household needs new kettle, iron, heater, etc. Try to avoid first. If not possible, and you find yourself in some electrical store, collect boxes with appliances as quickly as you can, and gently push your parents to the till. Use your body language, tell them the time every five minutes, say you are hungry, or there is loads of homework to be done (Gentle persuasive tactics)
3. You need clothes. This is the worst case. Difficult to avoid. This usually happens in autumn when you stop wearing shorts. You just put on your good old trousers and you notice they are two inches above ground level. Your mum will notice. Tell her this is IN this season, but you know the shopping trip is inevitable.
Try to agree with your parents the exact time you will be back. The actual time will be 2 hours later, but this is the best you can get.
Try also to get a figure on how many shops you will visit, and get their names. The more commitments you get, the better.
Once you enter the department store, head straight for the elevators. Look at the floor plan. Look up the children clothes, or an equivalent in the local language. (Enfants in my case)
Step on the elevator, don't worry, your parents will follow. Keep your steps steady, and don't let them get distracted.
Observation: Parents get easily distracted in department stores.
Bring your parents to the children's clothes section. They will make you try on a million things. Now. You have to choose your battles. If you will be difficult every step of the way, you are risking another trip next week.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Try everything on, don't be pulled into any conversation about likes and dislikes, fashion, colours, (did you notice all the clothes are very colourful this autumn - I mean red or green trousers!) what next!
The rule of the thumb is, if you can do your buttons, and the trousers are two inches longer than you need, they are a yes.
The top needs to be at least an inch longer than your hands.
Do not be bribed by ice-cream or a lunch. This will just extend your misery and it will continue after the meal. Stick to the contract. Gently remind your parents when their time is up, grab a handful of clothes, which will fit, and start walking towards the till.
Do not let your parents get distracted. Slowly walk towards the exit, dropping hints about your homework, you being hungry, thirsty, your parents being hungry (Yes, play dirty) the neighbour's cat needs feeding, let your fantasy run, this is a crucial point.
Don't over do it, but stick to the contract.
You will be fine.
On our way back in the car, I did some quick math. What we just paid for the clothes, would have paid me for a new PlayStation3. I would be quite happy to play on it in my old trousers.