I’m convinced that hipsters must all shop online, because nobody’s born cool, and the uncool certainly aren’t welcomed warmly at trendy boutiques. I could do without feeling like I’m not worthy to be shopping in a trendy boutique store. I don’t need that feeling I gather from sideways glances and exasperated sighs when I ask for anything at all (time of day, directions … ). The stuffy air exhaled into the confined stratum makes me want to leave, despite the throbbing music pulsing in my brain that is supposed to instill an animalistic desire to consume. All this is to say that I blame the retail clothier employee and not the store, for causing my emotional regression to the feeling I got in elementary school when I was the last one picked.
The focus of my venomous rant lies with Urban Outfitters, (not that I can ever find anything I like or that fits there. My size, unfortunately for me, falls somewhere between heroin chic and raver elephantitis.) You walk into any Urban Outfitters, and you are faced with the choice of male, female or housewares. Housewares is the warm-up area where you can browse through Jesus dolls (red plush or action figure) and kitschy tiki everything. I will often spend a few minutes rifling through the smutty and sacrilegious as I decide whether or not to brave the wilderness a short flight of diamond-plated industrial stairs away.
Once I ascend to the racks of the recycled T-shirts re-marketed and marked up to denote their ultimate, must-have accessory-of-the-year status, I find that I can’t go two minutes before someone, wearing anything but the attire sold in the store, comes up and says, “Hey.” It must be an interaction requirement, which spares them the exhaustion of asking if I could use any help. Usually I’m the one who must stutter out, “Uh, c-can you h-help me find my s-size?” Somehow, their uber-hip voodoo pricks at my brain, and I fall under a spell, rendering me the dweeb. I’m apparently not dirty enough (I’ll save that sermon for another time, but suffice it to say that what I smell and see are not copasetic) or vintage enough. Or, more likely, the salesperson cannot believe that I would try to buy my urban wear here, at the place I’m supposed to find all things urban. I would rather buy my clothes out of a vending machine than deal with his attitude and multi-directional spiking hair that does NOT look how it did when he rolled out of bed this morning.
But, despite the caustic vibe and unbelievable effort put into the decayed/restored retro/modern atmosphere, throngs of people flock to this establishment. The obvious question is, “Why?” and the simple answer is that nowhere else on earth can you walk in, spend $150 and walk out to enter the fray with the complete, readymade wuss rocker, granola eater or chemical brother uniform (see emo; see tearstained sweaters and thick-rimmed glasses). The effort of spending five years looking for the perfect denim jacket, or the impossibly unavailable velour tracksuit, or the Dokken T-shirt, is no longer needed nor valued, except by the employees who loathe you for supporting their salaries. You’re supposed to HELP me; it’s your job. Grow up, and wear clothes that fit. I no longer need imagination, which is exactly the point here at Urban Outfitters.
The bottom line is, you must choose to either endure the arrogance or wipe the dust off your feet as you leave. I choose the latter in principle, but you’ll probably see me browsing the throwback running shoes or tattered jackets because I’m a slave to my vices. At least give me some credit for preferring to shop elsewhere.
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