Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shoppers Stop

When Greg came home last night, he was insistent that he needed to go and buy some pants for school. One of our upstairs neighbors, Craig, took Greg around to some shops two nights ago and pointed outs some others. So, we set out for Linking Rd, a hubbub of stores from street markets with lesser quality, to Indian boutiques featuring western-style clothes, to upscale western stores, to department stores. We wandered around a bit while Greg became increasingly annoyed that he couldn't find the stores he was looking for, until we stumbled upon Shopper's Stop, a department store. In order to get into these upscale stores, bags are searched and you go through a metal detector of sort. Not really sure what the latter do since I haven't seen anyone stopped yet.

The door opened into the cosmetics/perfume area (am I at Nordies?) and we quickly headed for the stairs. Four flights up and we were in the men's department. They were having a sale and it was, you guessed it, crowded. Now the funny thing about stores and restaurants is, because India labor is so cheap, there are an overabundant number of employees. We found the "trouser" section and immediately several people were helping Greg, who was trying to ignore them. I encouraged him to let them help him and he headed to the dressing room with several styles of trousers. While waiting, I was encouraged to sign up for a "First Citizen, Shopper's Stop discount card." It was 200 Rs ($4), so I thought why not. And if Greg bought anything it would pay for itself. (Another thing about India, no question is too personal). The card I filled out made me laugh. It asked if I was single or married and then asked for the date of marriage. What?? Why?? After filling it out, another employee came over for some chit chat, asking me lots of questions that in the US no stranger would ever dare to ask or be deemed "crazy." In India, this is perfectly normal.

Greg tried on many pairs of pants, all too snug or way too big. I suggested wearing the same pair of trousers twice this week probably would not be a big deal. He resigned himself to the fact that we would most likely need to either try this weekend at other stores or get pants custom made. He did find a nice linen shirt, belt (which we forgot to have cut down to his size and I have to go do today), and dress socks. All this shopping is because we are still waiting for our shipment. (By the way, there was an oil spill near the port when one tanker collided into another tanker, thus shutting the port briefly. Mumbai port has a waiting line to get in, so our shipment is delayed. Though, thankfully, our shipment was not on the collided ships since some containers were lost. Greg heard that one shipping company lost some containers due to this - none from ASB).

Lesson from shopping trip: getting things in India is a process and can rarely be completed at a moment's notice. Best to view it as a game and have fun with it. Also, it's about having goals for the day. Today my goal was first: get Greg's belt sized down and go to the southern end of the city to explore. But still not having a key for the maid and receiving information about possible volunteer positions have reduced my goal down to: have Greg's belt sized down and talk a walk by the ocean to a good lunch spot, since I have to be back before Jacinta (housekeeper) leaves to be let in.

Tomorrow I will leave this neighborhood and explore!


  1. You're right about no question is a personal question. I was asked by our private tour guide in Varanasi whether I preferred sexual intercourse or oral sex with my fiance, because his wife does not like oral sex. Hahahahaha! I think you'll both need to fly down to KL, Singapore or Bangkok for some real shopping where you will find the stores that you are familiar with back home. You will miss the US chains as I did just living in Australia.

  2. Your daily descriptions sounds like being retired. Glad you decided on a housekeeper and good luck with the belt. We hit the road on Tuesday.