Monday, December 21, 2009

As Promised: The Ugly Pajamas

On one of my latest Christmas shopping forays, I wandered into a department store with my two little girls in the middle of a weekday morning. We dodged bundled-up grandmas, trailing-along grandpas, and too many precariously placed, gift laden tables in center aisles, making our way to the ladies nightgowns. I had a particular set of requirements to search for in a nightgown my mom wants for Christmas, and we'd already been all over the mall with no luck.

Weaving between racks of silky and flanneled possibilities, Mia kept up a constant narration of our journey. Lauren daringly leaned her upper body out of the stroller to swipe at each soft thing she saw, and I did my best to focus on the task at hand while maintain a believable amount of attention to Mia's dialogue.

"Excuse me," a female voice broke in. "About how old are you?" The plump and friendly saleswoman was standing with an older, bib overall-clad gentleman; both looked at me hopefully.

"Uhm," I stuttered, looking around to make sure they were talking to me. "I'm...27?"

At this, their faces lit up -- I'd answered correctly, I suppose.

"Well, then!" The man laughed. "Can you help me with something? I have two daughters just about your age, and I can't decide which of these to get for their Christmas gifts. Which do you like best?" Both he and the saleswoman stepped away from the rack in front of which they'd been conversing. I was half dreading what would be revealed. We were, after all, smack in the middle of a lingerie department. Surely he wouldn't be getting something....sexy? For his daughters?

But when I saw what they wanted my opinion on, it was almost worse than sexy. It was...it was...hideous.

There on the 6-foot tall rack, were rows of adult-size, fleece footie pajamas. If that wasn't bad enough, they were in the ugliest patterns you ever did see: red and green plaids, hot pink and orange polka dots, reindeer and snowman covered. From the top of their mile-long zipper to the bottom of their rubberized bootie toes, these things were UGLY. The possibilities continued around to the back side of the rack where, thankfully, they were hidden from my view.

The garish colors all swam together, and I felt my face start heating up. He'd asked which ones I liked. What should I do? Lie and pick something? Tell the truth and crush this poor man's shopping attempt? I was lost.

"Well," I stalled, "I guess...I mean...it would depend on what sort of things your daughters like." I suddenly wished one of my now-silent and patient daughters would throw a tantrum...pee her pants...anything to get me out of answering directly. They somehow failed to catch my instructions via desperate brain wave, and calmly watched as mommy's face turned red.

"Oh, they seem alot like you," the man chuckled, "same size an' age an' all that. I'd betcha whatever YOU like best, they're gonna like too. They's just too many choices here!"

Dang. I was cornered. And when cornered, I reacted in a perfectly reasonable way: I lied.

"Huh-huh." Bravo, Sarah, good response. "OK. Uhhh...I like this one," I said, gesturing vaguely to the polka-dotted monstrosity closest to myself. "Yeah. And maybe this one," I added, pointing to the elf-ish plaid. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor girls who'd be on the receiving end of my 'helpful' advice.

"You do!?" The clueless man wrung his work-hat in his hands and threw his head back as if offering thanks to the heavens for getting him out of this terrible pickle. "Ma'am," he continued, "You just saved my Christmas!" Shaking his head with relief, he grabbed the pajamas I'd picked out, and smiled down at me with pure gratitude in his eyes.

I suddenly felt awful. What had I done?! Those pajamas -- and therefore, that poor man -- would more likely be the laughing stock at Christmas, not the savior. I felt like I needed to recant my suggestions and tell him that honestly, I'd never wear something like those. Surely his daughters would appreciate a cute tank and pant set instead?

The saleswoman thanked me as well, and apologized for interrupting my shopping. "I hope we didn't bother you too much!" She called back while walking to the register.

I was about to open my mouth to tell them the truth, when the man mumbled something so the saleswoman wouldn't hear. "Well, I'm not sorry we interrupted you," he winked, "because I was gonna try an' getchur phone number anyway."

Aaaaaand...remorse erased.

Giving an awkward laugh, I pretended I hadn't heard him correctly. He had mumbled.

"OK! Hope they like 'em!" I said over my shoulder as I made for the exit, hauling Mia along beside me and steering the stroller wildly. I was out of that man's vicinity quicker than you could say CREEPY OLD GUY.

I'm choosing to believe he was just inappropriately joking, because otherwise I'd have to become a hermit and never leave the house again.

Just remember on Christmas morning that somewhere, two twenty-something ladies are unwrapping two terrifyingly hideous sets of pajamas.

And cursing my unknown name.

17 comments:

  1. Oh my. I ... I ... can't... stop ... laughing...

    Poor you. And those poor girls.

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  2. Yikes! Why would they even MAKE adult footie pajamas? Good thing you saved Christmas, though, you minx!

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  3. Eew how creepy! I'll choose to believe that he was joking as well! His poor daughters....

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  4. My 2 cents: Ugly pj's, sweaters, & ties are ideal in a holiday prints so that the poor recipent only has to maybe, maybe bring it out for one day a year.

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  5. I work with creepy old men. I feel for you! At least you had some buffers there.

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  6. Too funny! I can just picture it! Were you even able to stick around and shop, or did you dash right out of there?

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  7. Why is it that our children MUST behave like angels in these situations only?

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  8. Hilarious! I will be remember on Christmas morning, no matter what I receive, to be thankful it's NOT footie pajamas. At least I hope not. I wouldn't put ANYTHING past my mother-in-law.

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  9. Oh, what a horrible situation to be put in! I can only imagine their faces as they open their presents.
    Glad you made a swift exit! And got away from the otally creepy guy.

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  10. What a funny story! Those poor girls...and that poor man, thinking he's giving them something they will like...oh dear.

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  11. Too funny! I'm so glad you shared that story with us.

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  12. The perils of shopping at the mall! Yikes!

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  13. What do you mean, ugly? I have those SAME jammies! hee hee... ;)

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  14. Hah! Hilarious. Two years ago I was given a set of silky leapord print pajamas from Isaac's very conservative Baptist-preacher grandparents.

    I was mortified.

    What kind of girl do they think I am that they thought I would like leapord print silk? Ahh!

    They are comfortable, I just still can't believe who bought them for me!

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  15. I just snorted my coffee out of my nose. That was too funny!!

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  16. I love it! How do these things happen to you all the time?:) ... and I feel like you can't get too creeped out by his creepy comment. After all, he was clueless enough to be picking out those pajamas; he was also probably clueless as to how inappropriate his comment was. At least that's the story I'm sticking with. I can't handle the other options!

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  17. Marcos Mais TerraDecember 22, 2009 8:17 PM

    well now, I must say, my reaction to this story seems to be different from the other reactions posted. It reminded me of what I hate about the whole "gift" concept which seems to be the main theme this time of year. Trying to go out to purchase something that will bring delight, pleasure, enjoyment or convey love, caring and kindness....but most of my attempts have been about as sucessful as the above posters seem to think that feller's gift will be. I therefore have long since given up on making purchases at this time of year. I save my meager and lame attempts for non-expected times when perhaps the sheer un-expectedness might garner some points in the demonstration of my love and devotion.
    But the phone number comment....well, at its very best it was poor taste to make a comment like to a young woman with two babes in one hand and a ring on the other.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?