The Magic Shopping Machine | HumorOutcasts

The Magic Shopping Machine

May 2, 2011
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With my daughter living at home again, we have re-connected on one of our favorite activities: shopping.  I have to admit that during her college years, I didn’t go to the mall nearly as much because no one was around to lend a helping hand with my wardrobe choices. However, last week, as I was getting ready to run an errand, my daughter gave me the up-and-down once over and said,

“Mom, those jeans are so big on you. You can fit two of you in there.”

While usually a comment like this would send me skipping off to Friendly’s for ice cream, I just laughed and invited her to go shopping with me.

She eagerly consented, and with a new clothes goal in mind, we headed to the King of Prussia mall or what we call, The Mother Ship.  As we were walking near the food court, this nice-looking man jumped in front of us and asked me in a very excited voice,

“What size do you wear?”

I admit my first reaction was to let him have it in the stomach.  Luckily for him, he reads faces well and put up his hands in a protective stance before I had a chance to land the first punch. Then he blurted out,

“I’m not trying to harass you, I swear! I want to tell you about our size-scanning machine that can tell you exactly what size clothing you should be buying and where you can find that clothing in the mall.”

Okay, I was a little intrigued.  So, he brought us over to this metal capsule contraption and showed us how it would work.  First, I would remove my shoes, and then place all metals such as keys, jewelry, cell phone, coins and belts on the safety shelves inside the scanner. Then, as I stood inside the machine, I would need to hold still while the low-power radio waves bounced off my skin. The waves would then transfer the data of my personal size information to a barcoded ticket. After the scanning was complete, I would enter my ticket at a kiosk next to the scanner and type in an item of clothing I was interested in buying.  And like magic, I would be directed to a store and the exact merchandise that was guaranteed to fit me.

Well, I have to say that while it sounded like a good idea, I had reservations. First off, I had to wonder who invented this machine.  I can picture some reject from the Department of Homeland Security or the FAA coming up with this gadget. Not to be too cynical, but I’ve had similar experiences going through airport security — or worse, my mammogram.

The second reservation I had about this scanner is that it takes away the unknown. A scanning would save me the trouble of taking 15 items of all different sizes into the dressing room. Scanning would take the guesswork out of what size clothing I should try on. But that guesswork allows me to live in denial. I have said it before: I think denial is highly underrated.  I embrace denial.   If I step into this Star Trek time machine-looking contraption, the denial is gone.  I don’t think I can cope if this high-tech personal shopper informs me that my ideal size is three sizes larger than what I think it is.

And my last problem with the size-scanning device is that it is located right across from the dessert crepes kiosk. Who the hell was the genius who picked this spot in the mall?  If I go and get scanned and find out I’m larger than I thought I was, I am not going to shake it off. No, I am going to lapse into a depressed state and walk over to the dessert kiosk and get one of their banana and vanilla ice cream-filled crepes with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  Would this make the scanner people happy? I would think not unless, they own the crepe kiosk too.

After the scanner man finished his presentation, he asked me if I was ready to take the step into the machine that would change my life.  I thought he was getting a little cocky.  If I walked into that machine and it erased all traces of cellulite or straightened my hair, then I would announce to the world that this was a machine that has changed my life.

Anyway, very politely – well, sort of – I told the scanning man I was not interested and gave him back his brochure, and my daughter and I went about our business.  To be honest, we headed to the crepe kiosk because it smelled so good while we were listening to the scanning lecture, and we couldn’t resist.  After we split the crepe, we decided to skip the new pair of jeans because I felt too bloated to try anything on. See, now if that scanner could zap bloat, then I would shout from the top of the mall escalator that it is truly a life-changing machine.

Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh is founder of HumorOutcasts.com (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books (HOPress-Shorehousebooks.com). As "den mother" to the more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors, Cavanagh's goal is to allow creativity to flow. She is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine and USA Today. She teaches the how-to lessons of humor and publishing at conferences and workshops throughout the country including The Philadelphia Writers' Conference and Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The author of four humor books, Cavanagh hopes her latest book, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans, will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

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