When Aya’s mom is in town, there are always a few stops we have to make.  We always venture out to the Somerset mall, or as they call it, the Somerset “Collection.”  This place has all the exclusive stores like Tiffany’s, and Louis Vuitton so they can’t just call it a mall, even though they have a GAP and a Macy’s like every other mall does.  After the “Collection” we hit Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  I don’t mind going shopping with them, and especially now with Ellie around, I have a buddy.  Also with shopping at a different mall, I can scope out the mallwalking situation for a possible mallwalking trip.  This mall is three times as big as my mall, AND it has three floors!  And a Starbucks!  However, the Somerset “Collection” does NOT have a Big Boy like my mall does.  Maybe if we’re all lucky, one day they’ll make that addition.  What better way to celebrate your purchase of a purse that costs more than my mortgage payment than by eating a Big Boy’s Slim Jim? 

When we arrived at the mall the first order of business was lunch, so we hit the food court.  This is another luxury I don’t get to enjoy at my mall.  We have a Big Boy, but no food court.  It’s a fair trade I think.  As we sit down Ellie wakes up and I think she’s pretty excited for this place.  It’s new, we have food, and we’re sitting in a booth.  She polished off some snacks while we ate and then we hit the stores.  Since Ellie had been in the stroller for some time I decided to carry her so she could see things up close.  While Aya and her mom went looking at purses and girly things, Ellie and I popped into Crate & Barrel to look for some spice jars.  Yes, spice jars.  It’s come to this.  It’s the time of year for Christmas lists and such and I find the one thing I really want are spice jars.  My spice cabinet is a disaster and since I use it every day, what’s the harm in wanting it organized and coordinated?  Right?  I had no luck there and made a few other fruitless stops to more stores.  But one thing that was common at all these stores was that Ellie sure did get a lot of attention.  She made people forget what they were doing, where they were working, what they were selling.  The lady at Crate & Barrel said, “Oh my, how adorable!  You are just so cute I could take you home!”  And then she stared for an awkward length of time.  After I realized she wasn’t talking about me, I asked her if they had spice jars.  Without breaking her stare from Ellie she trailed off saying; “maybe, ask someone back there…”   Followed by, “So precious.”  As I left the store she said, “There goes my favorite baby! I’m gonna take you home!”  This happened at MULTIPLE stores.  If God forbid Ellie ever ends up missing, at least I have a few leads.

With three levels, this mall would be a great place for mallwalking.  There are plenty of places to rest and people watch, or as Ellie liked to do, heckle the people down below.  But I needed to see if there would be other walkers.  Would this place be mallwaker friendly?  You’re probably thinking the mallwalking situation at a mall that’s not a mall but a “Collection” is probably non-existent.  You’re wrong.  They exist.  They are just underground.  They are disguised as regular shoppers.  Instead of wearing gym shorts and a sweaty tank top, they wear velour Juicy sweat suits with rhinestones and carry Starbucks coffee travel mugs.  Probably filled with ice water.  I spotted two women, and could tell they were not there to shop.  They were walking too fast and did not have purses, or shopping bags.  Ladies, who are you fooling?

The next day, we went to Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.   Nothing unusual happened at Target, but this one lady I met at Bed Bath was Beyond crazy.  Actually she probably wasn’t, I’m just not used to being cornered by strangers.  I was alone, hanging out with Ellie while everybody else was roaming around the store.  I had already determined the spice jars here were not to my liking so we were just relaxing in the main aisle.  It’s hard to move around in that store.  Especially with the Holidays approaching, the aisles and rows are overflowing with “must have” stuff.  Stuff like leopard print Snuggies, and the EZ Cracker (As Seen On TV).  This overabundance of stuff makes it hard to move around the store and especially with a cart.  And I got trapped by this woman and her mom.

Ellie and I were making faces when she approached us.  A woman approached with the typical, “Oh my, she’s so adorable, look at that smile.”  Ellie reached her hand out to her, which was an invitation for this lady to linger.  I don’t mind Ellie getting the compliments, but when the people linger, I don’t know what to do.  I can only smile politely for so long.  I’m not very good at small talk with strangers so I just smile politely and awkwardly, and wait for them to leave.  Then this lady started to tell me about her son’s twins.  “Oh, girls are easier… until they’re teenagers.  Enjoy it while you can.  My son has a four year old, and then he had twins.  You can’t plan that!  They were monkeys for Halloween.  Oh my, look at that smile.  Ok, well you have a nice day now.”  I thought it was over then.  As I try inching my cart away, I hear her yell, “Hey mom!  Come here and see this cute baby!”  So now this lady’s mom comes over and repeats almost word for word her daughter just said.  “Look at that smile…”  Then the daughter says, “Mom!  Let him go, I’m sure he had shopping to do.”  Ok, now I can get away.  Where is Aya, I have to get out of here!  The daughter pulls out her phone and says, “See here, this is Bobby, and this is Tommy, they were monkeys for Halloween.”  Oh… yes… look at that…  Yes they are cute…  “Yeah they didn’t have them on long, but they are just, too cute.”  We exchange a few awkward smiles in silence.  Is she waiting for me to say something I wonder?  I almost grabbed the EZ Cracker to take to the register just to get away.  Luckily, she finally moved on and I was saved from wasting money on worthless junk.  Too bad we weren’t in the Sunggie aisle, I kinda want one of those.

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