Shopping we go!

Hillcroft is the desi hangout in Houston, for anything from Idayam nal ennai to idayam clogging ghee filled sweets we head there. It is the place you go to get your monthly fix of Indian payaru and parupu items and stop for a hot cup of chaya (no not the Starbucks variety!) It is where you can see and buy Thumbs-up and Frootis, Amrutanjan pain balms and Hajmola candies.

Most Indians in Houston make the almost religious trek to Hillcroft at least once a month. But me, I try to run-away from Hillcroft! As far as I can get… don’t get me wrong, I love shopping. I am the kind of person who loves looking at what each store has to offer. Be it groceries, cosmetics or clothes, there is something so relieving about shopping. It is de-stressing and therapeutical. Be it in Chennai or Houston or anywhere else in the world, give me some stores I’ll be happy. But a trip to Hillcroft is a scary prospect. I put it off, I cook up hundred and one reasons and find desi groceries at other places and go on!

You ask me why and I try and think. I Why should I be scared of Hillcroft and that is the answer I have been trying to find myself. I did make a quick run to Hillcroft a few days ago and just jotted down a quick letter to some of the Unclejis and Auntyjis there; here they are:

I come to the checkout counter all tired and ready to keep moving homeward. I just want you to bill my items and all I can spare at that instance is a smile and a quick thank you. I am not, I repeat, I am NOT, ready to hear you scream at your Mexican workers. They might be slacking off their job but please refrain from screaming at them into my ears. I have a sensitive ear and I cannot take in the language and the tirade that follows.

If you see me at your fancy store in Houston, it just means one thing: that I am really desperate. I am the sort of person who knows exactly what I want and if I am at your over-crowded, dusty room called store, it is because I need something to wear for the party coming up and I am desperate. And when I am at your store, it is great that you offer to help me. But I’ll politely decline your help but please don’t start giving me a big lecture on how to select jewelery and how I am supposed to bring my dress to match up. Please, I like to browse and when I see the right piece, the bells will ring. And if I am desperate for help, believe me, I’ll ask. Don’t expect me to be the daughter you never had to advise what I should wear and how I should deck up. And hover over me unnecessarily. I do not plan to run away with the Rs 50 fancy jewellery you sell for $ 50. And no please don’t peep out to see who my escort is. It could be anyone and no, I don’t like your asking personal questions. Yes! I don’t lie. I still have respect for elders and will reply Why can’t you stop at that? . Please stop making judgments about me without knowing me. How can you draw such conclusions about me in the five minutes I have been in your store?

I know the highly respectable person behind me in the line is somehow related to you and you are meeting him after a long time. But that doesn’t mean you should carry on a conversation with him while I wait to get my purchases checked out. Please I can put a smile and wait for a couple of seconds but it is really irritating to wait, patiently shifting the heavy basket as you inquire about all your long-lost friends and relatives and how old the dog is and if it is house-broken and stuff. It is really a patience-tester and yes this isn’t they way you treat a customer.

And after reading all these letters to the store-owners do you still wonder why I rarely go to Hillcroft?


Roop Rai said...

heh we went there today to the Udipi Cafe for dosas :D