Lugging my things like a bag lady, I waddled my way through the airport, following the signs that read “postal service.” I was just about there, in fact the postal service sign was just in front of me, when a strong mix of spicy sweet and floral scents sent my head turning towards the right and I found myself following my nose to a Lush store.
I would never buy Lush soaps or other bath goodies for myself, because they are terribly overpriced although the sensation is something worth experiencing if it is not on your own pocket. Which makes it a wonderful gift, I thought, because all women deserve to pamper themselves once in a while.
The two girls arranging things at the large island counter seemed to be in a dismal mood. One was telling the other how she called her ex-boyfriend the previous night. “What did you do that for?” the other asked. “I dunno.” she said. It sounded like a conversation between my friend and I.
I pored over stylishly stacked boxes wrapped with colorful Christmas prints- fat striped Candy canes, cute penguins on a snowy background, shiny metallic reds with silver ribbons- and sniffed some of the round bath balls. I don’t like the cut soap- the huge chunks reminds me too much of lard. While I like to make my own decisions, I was running short on time, so I walked up to the counter to ask for some help. It was the girl who called her ex-bf last night.
“Hi I’d like some help. I’m looking for something to buy for a friend.”
“Are you flying out?”
“Yes! I do have a flight, I don’t know how much time I have left- I get so obsessed shopping.”
“OH I love that! I have to put that down on my list of the best things customers have said! Did you hear that?” she shrieked to the other girl.
“Uh huh,” the other girl said.
“Sorry if I sound cranky, I don’t think my brain is fully functioning yet. It usually doesn’t at this hour. I don’t think the brain is meant to function at this hour.”
“I don’t think we’re even supposed to be up at this hour,” I said.
“EXACTLY!” she said. “So what is this friend like? Do you know if she likes bathing, or…”
“Actually, I have no idea, so I’d like something that is not overwhelming and I don’t want something too expensive because I don’t want her to feel intimidated.”
The girl plucked a camouflage-print box off the shelf. “This is my favorite,” she said. “It has bath gel, soap, and bomb and the scent is very subtle. I got it for several friends and they all liked it.”
I looked at the content list and it looked okay, only I had been thinking of a more sprightly packaging.
“You think this is better than the Christmas boxes?” I asked.
“Yeah, they have sparkles, or peppermint scents and stuff like that,” she said. “And if you’re shipping it it will be okay, because you’re not allowed to take liquids on international flights.”
“But if you buy $50 or more, we can offer free shipping.”
“Hm. But I have to send stuff other than this.”
“Oh that’s okay. Our boss isn’t here yet. And I heart you. Obsessed about shopping! I love that line!”
“Can I send it to two addresses?”
‘You may as well finish my Christmas shopping here and besides, Lush items in the United States are expensive, but still cheaper than those in Korea, which would make them good gifts,’ my shopaholic conscience whispered to me.
In addition to the greenish box, I picked up a penguin box, and two santa boxes, bringing the total to $57 plus tax. Perfect!
‘If you had to send those parcels at the post office, you would have had to spend that much money in delivery costs anyway,’ my inner shopaholic voice told me.
“So what are you sending? Do you mind if I peek?”
“Not at all.”
I love showing off my latest shopping “achievements.” I opened up one box.
“So I got this at Calvin Klein- this is for the wife and this is for the husband…” I said, adding the penguin box inside.
“Ooh…” she said, peeking beneath the tissue.
“Do you think I should take out the gift receipt or leave it in? I really don’t want to leave it in, but people said I should, just in case they want to exchange it. But if they do want to exchange it, they’re not going to be able to get anything as good because I bought it at an outlet.”
“I never exchange things I receive as a gift,” she said.
“Yeah…it’s like..I’m giving it to you so you better like it,” I said.
“Exactly. What’s the other one?”
“Oh, this one is from Ann Taylor and it’s just a hooded sweater, but it’s just her style.”
“That is so nice.”
“Hey, I found these boxes to put them in,” the other girl said, emerging from a back office with two boxes.
“Here, I wrote the UPS tracking numbers on the receipt so you can track the deliveries.”
“Thanks, this is sooo sweet of you,” I said. “Do you like face masks?” I took out two disposable face masks from my bag (aloe and royal jelly).
“Ohhh I love how Asian women have all that advanced face care! One day I really want to go to Japan and receive some facials!” the girl exclaimed.
Handing me a bag with the two remaining gift boxes, she said, “You haven’t gotten anything for yourself, so I added a couple things.”
“Thanks a million!” I said and ran to catch my plane, five minutes before takeoff. I was the second to last person to board.
I didn’t get a chance to see what was in the bag until I unpacked at home. The girl had given me two large bath balls and another shaped like an angel. (They cost about $5 each.) Never before had confession of being a shopping-obsessed person seen such fruitful results.