One might think that there is no reason whatever to visit the Phillipsburg Mall, tucked about as far west in New Jersey as it’s possible to be.
One would be largely correct.
However, if that’s where you are, and you have a few hours to kill, you could frankly do worse.
(And by “worse,” I mean “Wal-Mart.” Don’t you dare.)
First and foremost: the H&M. Messrs. Hennes and Mauritz were out of their collective fashion-savvy minds when they decided to add a store here. To put it kindly, let’s just say that their demo is not here.
To be less kind, let’s note that the H&M demo is not hillbillies.
But this bodes well, at least for me, because this is the neatest, the most peaceful, just about the best place to shop ever. Ever rack is in color order, and within that, in size order. They always have plenty of everything. The dressing rooms are always empty. The staff is always sort of pleasantly startled to see a customer and, while not always quite chic themselves, does their best to help you.
Therefore, it is my mission to keep this H&M in business, so my little secret will stick around.
On the other hand. The Victoria’s Secret in the Phillipsburg Mall. O how do I loathe thee....
Your abrasively, frighteningly, offensively cheery salesgirl in the front of the store. She was piercingly, trillingly loud. She talked too close. She would not accept a polite rebuff. She made suggestive comments, which, not only inappropriate but additionally, not remotely sexy. Is there no end to the number of ways to annoy a prospective customer?
No. Because at the other end of the experience was the cashier who preferred to talk on the phone rather than answer my questions, as I stood there ready to give hermy business.
I’ve worked retail in some really rotten places, and in some really good places. I know it can be a whole lot of not fun. I know how to be good at it. And I know that sometimes you’re just not feeling it and you don’t much care if you suck. But this pair of girls was not just accidentally bad at it. You have to try to be that awful.
But most annoying, although not the fault of the Phillipsburg Mall, is that the current merchandise line of Victoria’s Secret sucks. Shut up about your Ipex bra. It’s enormously huge and unflattering. I don’t care how space-age it is and whether it feels like lotion on me. (And it doesn’t, and why would I want it to?)
Nor do I want to be beribboned. If I wanted to look like a prancing shepherdess, I’d try out for a production of Heidi. Or walk around with a lamb. I wouldn't buy underclothes with rickrack and ruffles.
And also no to the bright gaudy polka-dot stripey colors. I get that you need to go after the Limited Too demographic, but couldn’t you make a Victoria’s Little Secret or something? Put all the bright-pink-and-teal spangly super-cheapie-material things in there, and keep the decent stuff in decent colors somewhere?
Victoria’s Secret catalog, you are my last resort.
If H&M had a catalog, I’d never have to venture to that mall again.