Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Christmas shopping today took us to the darkest of dark places. The outlet mall. Austin has two outlet malls on either side of the city. The one in Round Rock is fairly forgettable. The two mashed together in San Marcos on the other hand has an appealing variety of stores. It was there that I got to see Michael Korrs work in person. SOOOO, not worth the hype if you're under 50. That said, we went with a list of people and gift ideas and at least her half of the marriage was motivated to accomplish great things.

Intentions were to go to Crate & Barrel and William Sonoma to knock out half the list. Yeah, not so much. We were in and out of many stores and found only three family members taken care of and a couple half ways. All in all not horrible, but it means there is a long road ahead with only two weeks left.

So, someone please explain to me the outlet mall experience. They are designed to make parking and maneuvering the lot spirit-crushing. Half the stores are legitimately Outlet Mall inspired, meaning they have last years items or broken stuff marked down. But really the majority of them are identically priced to their counterparts found in the hell holes we call malls located happily within the city limits.
Seriously, Old Navy is 100% identical in both places. Gap (yes, I know they are the same company) actually has special Outlet Mall tags that read something like $69.50 compare to similar look for $99.99. WTF is that? Gap is Gap, there is no "compare to similar look" about it. I understand "regularly $50, now $20."

It just seems to be a trick to get super cheap (or broke like us) folks shopping your brand. It does make Podunk town's economy come to life, but over all the whole experience is maddeningly exhausting.

I don't know who was more miserable, my one-year-old daughter who had utterly given up any chance of escape three and a half hours in and had an emotional breakdown by hour five. My wife who pregnancy is not kind to in the first trimester. Or me, who could barely see straight after the 40th store. We are all glad to be home.

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