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Going Shopping, Punishment or Pleasure? / Rebeca Monzo

Going Shopping, Punishment or Pleasure? / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Unstated

For many years now, what was a very pleasurable way to spend time before
1959 — going shopping — even if just standing outside and looking in the
shop windows, has become almost a punishment.

Most of us who go out to buy something for the home, are women. In
genera, men detest this type of activity. Undoubtedly they prefer to
submit to the Chinese torture of going to the farmer's markets (perhaps
because they have no choice), because they are the ones with the
strength to carry the heavy bags full of fruits and vegetables.

My friend Magy told me that yesterday she went shopping at the
department store La Epoca (fine, what was left of it), because her
daughter had given her some money for her name day to buy a pair of
shoes. Something that could have been very pleasant was turned into a
real burden.

To enter this shop, as in all of them on my beloved planet, even in the
smallest, you have to leave your bag outside. And this annoying, but
they say, it's the established custom. Of course, when you ask who
established it, nobody knows the answer. The place where you leave your
bags has a sign that says: Objects of value cannot be left in bags.
There is no detail about what objects fall into this category. So, if
you want to go in, you have no option but to leave your bag with all
your personal belongings in it. For me, for example, things if value
include the keys to my house, photos of my children, a little notebook,
a flash memory, my cosmetics, in short, everything that I always carry.
Then, you have to become a juggler, carrying in your hands your wallet,
glasses, cellphone (if you have one) and whatever objects you consider
important. This is not only very bad, but it also lends itself to many
things, among which is someone hiding something in your bad or removing
something from it.

My friend, like everyone else, had to leave her bag in the pigeonhole,
after waiting in the usual line, and then hand over her ID, which they
demand despite it being a flagrant violation, carry in her hands the
above mentioned objects and climb the stairs to the third floor, where
the shoe shop is, because the elevators are only for the use of the
employees or those with obvious disabilities.

Once there she saw some shoes she like and when she tried them on she
told the clerk she would buy them, but she would take them in a bag
without the box. She was told she had to take the box because they
couldn't allow her to leave it there because they weren't allowed to
accumulate trash, and if she didn't want it she could throw it in the
first trash can in the street. This bothered my friend, but there was
nothing she could do about it.

She took the fifty CUCs her daughter had given her and when she went to
pay the clerk asked for her ID card, and she said she didn't have it as
she had left it with her bag as demanded. Then the clerk asked if she
knew the number by heart and she said no. Then, I'm sorry — answered the
saleswoman — I can't give them to you. My friend insisted but to no
avail. She was indignant without her pair of shoes, tired and exhausted
from the heat (the shop wasn't air-conditioned) and what should have
been a nice afternoon of shopping turned into a real punishment.

August 13 2011

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