I had a spare hour in between jobs today so I decided to go have a look at a factory outlet that someone at work had recommended to me. I parked my car in front of a quaint well cared for early 1900s mini house in the side street near the store. I eyed off the big flourishing fruit tree abundant with green citrus in the middle of the sweet old houses’s front yard. The house seemed to be surrounded by bigger more imposing properties, but the house held it’s own in loveliness. I was feeling good, semi-normal at least. This house was inspiring me with a writing idea so I decided to take a photo.
At this point I should explain that this shop that I was about to enter was a clearance store/factory outlet for TS14+and their associated brands. TS14+ is a clothing chain that has loose, artsy, cleverly designed clothing for women, size 12-24. I have recently become very attracted to their clothing range, buying many things online and in person at a large department store. Their clothes are comfortable, not tight, non-clingy, they have a lot of variety and different styles to suit a range of women. Plus, choosing a size S is nice for a change, especially for a person who has never felt good about her size.
Anyway, going in, the throng of shopping noise slapped me in the face. My plan was to have a wander at an easy pace and just see what they had in stock. Well, that worked for a little while until I started to take in what was happening around me. “Anna, Anna, are you still here?” yelled someone, with the beginning of panic in their voice. “Yessss, Anna here” came the reply in a distinctive choppy Asian-English voice. My intuition told me the second voice was the tour guide. I then realised how big the store was, how full of racks it was, and how many people were inside.
Sometimes I think my senses can’t handle too much noise. Lucky today I was feeling OK because this place was crazy town and the noise was at level:silly.
I left a couple of things I was interested in on the racks, no, hurry. Wandering down the back I saw people with red plastic baskets on wheels with long black handles. And their baskets were ridiculously laden with clothes. These bus people are buying up big, I thought. How lovely for a traveller to stock up in the big city. I stood at a rack debating in my mind for ages about a black top that I liked the look of but had no purpose for.
Then it all changed.
“Hey everyone, just explaining, the 50% off is off the marked price, not the original selling price. You have to take the price in red writing and then take 50% off that. I know that sounds unbelievable, but, it’s true. Enjoy your shopping.”
I looked at the top in my hand. Black typed price:$79. Red writing:$39. That makes this a $20 top. Really?
That’s when my body decided to shop at a different pace. I needed a red basket on wheels. I went back to the front desk and interjected on a shop assistant with her back to me, who was serving someone, to ask for a red basket. None left. Of course not. I would just have to carry my things. I went back and found a top I liked when I first arrived but debated the price. Definitely had to have it now. I went up and down the packed clothing racks and the tiny aisles, bumping into people, dropping items off racks accidentally. For a store that sells to middle and larger sizes the racks were placed far too close together. However, to have this much bargain stock at hand was a true find for anyone. I am sure shoppers wouldn’t care how difficult it was to navigate, they would still manage to shop with a fervour. They came in the bus loads, a tiny aisle was nothing.
It’s funny how people connect in shared experiences. Another lady shopper and I had a giggle and exchanged funny comments when two women in a dressing room discussed the unfortunate sagging of one’s boobs, loudly enough for those in the vicinity to hear. “Ladies please remember there are other ladies out here waiting for dressing rooms. Please be quick with trying on so other ladies can get in the rooms.” One of the shop assistants was pacing back and forth in front of the dressing room curtains. Looking back, that must have been just before the bus left.
By the time I had lapped the store two and a half times there was no problem finding a dressing room. I went into the end one. I could take my time. Usually I conserve energy (or spoons, whichever you prefer) and try on as little as possible. There wasn’t even any guesswork here, I know their sizing. I started out this way but I didn’t feel tired so I tried everything on. I even went back and changed one dress for an XS to try on, and it fit! I didn’t get everything that I had in my basket before trying on, but 11 items purchased isn’t bad, is it?
I started to worry that I would run short of time on my next job, and have no energy left to do it, but neither happened. What a surprise packet of fun this little stopover was.