It’s Black Friday – the national shopping holiday. I’m agoraphobic (afraid of crowds) and have never really liked the fact that the best prices were only had by braving the crowds and fighting your way through hundreds of people to get to the cashier. Then one year, desperate for the great prices and at my wits end, I came up with an idea.
Digging in the back of my closet I pulled out my Renaissance Festival garb. If nothing else, the hoop skirt should afford me at least a minimum of personal space. I laced in and headed for the Mall of America (yup that huge crowd magnet). Parking that early in the morning was an orderly affair with teenagers in Santa Caps forcing people to park one after another. I think one of them may have noticed my high cleavage, but mostly they were worried about not getting run over.
People began to notice me as we all got out of our cars and walked toward the doors. Mostly though they were focused on their lists and the fliers about all the various sales that they planned to hit. I noticed that it wasn’t any worse than any other trip to the mall. Inside the effect became even more pronounced. People weren’t staring at me, but they were leaving me with more than enough room to move. I guess there is something scary about someone dressed so far out of normal. Whatever the cause, I was happy.
There were other effects as well. Every time I walked into a store a sales person or two were offering to help. In this case the out of the ordinary made me the more desirable customer. Shopping had never been easier. As I left each shop with my purchases, I picked up my security tail. The guard kept a respectful distance back at first, but slowly inched forward until I turned and greeted him. He was a big man, possibly a football player or marine in a former job. He approached with caution and asked what I was doing.
“Shopping” I said.
“But…” he waved at the outfit.
That didn’t answer the question.
“Have you noticed how much space I get compared to everyone else?”
That made sense so he offered to escort me through the rest of my shopping. Sure why not, I’m all for a man in uniform.
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