...to the intrepid hatted heistman, who, if the temporal logic of the internet is to be believed, struck again this very day. My literary correspondant points out a correlation with Tibor Fischer's epic "Thought Gang", and I must admit that there are echos. I recently internetted a second hand copy of the collector collector, but haven't yet got around to it, since I'm instead engrossed in a bargain basement copy of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, which I've never got around to reading before.
It was obtained during a perhaps ill-advised mall trip today where the might 287 converges with 202, 206 and head of the 22, at more or less the same time that the mad hatter was striking the Commerce Bank (pronounced, "Comma Spank", in case you were wondering). Nothing like mingling with the hoi polloi to bring out the misanthrope in me.
I had to return a christmas present which was the wrong size and get the equivalent garment in the right size. This turned out to be more hassle than simply switching the two. After finding something that seemed to fit, there was apparently a small price differential to be paid which, had I been offered the article in question for at that exact price, I might have demurred. Then some unamusing comic aside with receipts. Since there was no receipt for the gift, a special transaction had to be made, and I was requested to show proof of my identity and give my telephone number. Ah, if only I had the vim of youth once more! I would have told them where to stick their stupid demands for private information. Instead, I didn't even have the energy to object, but merely did the obviosu thing and wrote down fake information (what is the point of asking to see my ID if they aren't going to check that I don't sign myself as one M. Mouse?).
On to a succession of depressing stores in search of a new notebook for my innermost thoughts, and a new digital camera (or rather, to find a model I liked the look of so that I could read reviews online and buy from an internet retailer). Perhaps there is some cultural difference between the US and the UK which I have still not apprehended, but when I walk into a shop, avoid eye contact with the staff, and scan intently over the items there, this is not a request for some twerp in a blue polo shirt to lean over my should and husk breathily into my ear "Do you need any help finding something?" Again, the punk drunk youth would find ways to be obnoxious back in return, making a fatuous request for a non-existent item or a more direct request for the assistant to Fuck Off. The aging relic instead passive-aggressively replies "No, thank you" somewhat pointedly, or just murmurs "Nuh". The latter is not to be recommended, since it is not firm enough to postpone a follow up question. If I can bear it, I will simply pretend to be deaf in future. Don't they realize that deliberate evasion and lack of eye contact means "stop bothering me, I am quite capable of finding things myself"? Do they not have the concept of 'browsing' in this country?
This is only compounded by the fact that on one occasion I strode into a store, and did have a specific question about a particular item (precisely, the price was missing). And then the staff would not meet my eye, but instead huddled off in a corner having some stupid conversation and not availing themselves to me. I eventually had to butt in on one and found the price not to my liking by an order of magnitude. You don't get this crap on the internet.
You can no longer buy CDs in malls. Or rather, there are no music shops in America any more. They all seem to have closed. Can the impact of the Internet really be that large? I was fairly sure that the actual impact on CD sales was not all that large. Perhaps people are just buying their CDs from Amazon as well. Shocking. Good thing I didn't want to buy any CDs, just browse, and we know where that ends you up.