I am not going into Mr. Price again.
This is not a rant against the chain store itself. Sure, its Ugandan outlet is overpriced and more than half of the merchandise offered (the women’s section, at least) looks like someone ingested too much plaid, glitter and studs and proceeded to vomit on the clothes.
Besides that, it has its charm; being one of the few clothes shops in the country with in-store music and shop attendants with a modicum of courtesy and agreeability. Also, the floors are unbelievably smooth and provide the perfect place to practice one’s moon-walking skills.
I am not going into Mr. Price again because within the milk white clothes racks and polished floors lies an evil chasm for inevitable social entrapment.
I’m talking about the fact that whenever I go in there, I am guaranteed to run into someone I know and don’t want to see. Invariably this will be someone that a) I went to school with and haven’t seen in ages and wasn’t sad about this fact; b) I work with and am glad to see Monday through Friday only; or c) I am related to.
Awkward moments can be cool sometimes, like when you’re using a narrow sidewalk and you bump into a good-looking stranger and you both do that side-step dance.
But social entrapment is always awkward and never cool. There I am, basking in the enjoyable solitude of shopping, and I see person a, b or c in the same aisle. Social decorum demands we say hello to each other, and thus begins the “Hey! What are you doing here?” (facepalm!). Chances are that we have only two things to talk about with each other – how are you; how’s work?
Once that’s covered, a loud silence descends, blocking out the sounds of Soulja Boy on the speakers till only chirping can be heard.
I finally manage to giggle, cough and excuse myself. Phew. Survived that. Onwards to more shopping. But Mr. Price is a relatively small store and as Sod’s Law would have it, I almost always bump into the same person at the shoe aisle or the underwear aisle.
The small monster of an awkward conversation that we had earlier rears its ugly head. Having exhausted my supply of pleasantries and banter, what’s left to say? I once bumped into an old aunt (the kind that feels her sole duties on earth are to watch your weight and remind you that the time’s running out on your “marriageable years”) at the underwear aisle. I froze, feigning fascination in the only thing in front of me – Hello Kitty pajamas. She came over to me, held out a black lace bra and slip and said loudly, ‘My dear you’ll never find a man wearing children’s bedclothes.’
Fuck Mr. Price.