My first H&M experience happened 5 years ago while I was in Calgary. I had stalked their fashions online and couldn’t wait to step foot into an actual store. I was all hyped-up the whole morning and when I finally crossed the threshold I freaked.
(A little side note about me: When I get excited, I get really really excited. There are certain stores or places that I love (like Bulk Barn) and when I go inside I practically vibrate. My eyes dart around quickly and I become overstimulated. I’m giddy with possibilities. But the flip-side is that I get overwhelmed and can’t function properly. The awesomness is too much and I am unable to make basic life choices, like which trail mix I’d like to buy. It gets better once I visit the location on a regular basis, but if I’ve been anticipating going somewhere for quite awhile then it’s hopeless.)
I tried to calm my internal freak-out and told myself to walk slowly and look at all the racks of wonderful fashions. I had a bit of money to spend, knowing that it would be one of my stops while visiting family, but I quickly became overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things I liked and left the store without purchasing anything from a retailer I had waited years to visit. This happened the next two times that I was inside an H&M store.
I like H&M because I find them to be classy, fashionable and trendy all rolled into one. You can spot a vintage inspired piece with a peter pan collar right next to an edgy sweater with leather patches on the shoulders. They carry garments that are easily added to your current wardrobe at reasonable prices. Sure, not every thing inside their walls is for me, but its my kinda store.
Since that first encounter, I’ve spent 5 years hoping that they would one day open their doors in Winnipeg. Sure enough, that day finally came.
Amid much hype, fist pumping, dancing employees, security guards and news crews, H&M Winnipeg cut their red ribbon and opened shop yesterday morning at 11:00am. I figured that for a Wednesday morning it wouldn’t be too insane so I packed-up my little guy and made my way to the mall. I’ve waited 5 years after all and dammit, I’d be there on the first day!
As I rounded the corner I was made an ass of for assuming there would only be a small crowd. I stood in shock as the line-up of people was half a kilometer long, winding through the mall. The music was blaring and the place was buzzing. I cut through the line and went straight for Starbucks. I wasn’t dealing with any of that nonsense until I had an empty bladder and a coffee in my hand.
I finally decided to get in line at 11:30 when it shrank a good amount and Eli and I only waited for about 25 minutes. He stayed happy eating grapes and I stood and people-watched. A CBC reporter came and wanted to interview the two girls behind me, to which they quickly declined because they were skipping class. After walking down the length of the line, they ended-up interviewing the guy standing right in-front of me as he was the next lucky individual to enter the store (they were letting someone in the store every time someone would leave so they could keep things under control).
Finally it was my time. The lady waved me through and I pushed the stroller into paradise. It was overwhelming. It was crowded. The DJ was deafening. The lines for the fitting rooms and the registers were winding through the whole store. I could barely get the stroller around people and racks of clothing. But I tried to take a peek at some clothes and look for a certain skirt that I’ve been trying to find. A few minutes in to my shopping my sister phone. So I pushed Eli, glanced at clothes, tried not to hit people and talked on the phone. I realized this wasn’t working and decided to call it quits. I’d come back when things calmed down. I clearly wasn’t getting anywhere and Eli wouldn’t sit for long enough to wait in any sort of line. I slowly made my way to the front of the store and was just about to leave when Eli grunted at me (because the only two words he can say are Bubble and Cookie). I looked down and he held up two pairs of tights that he had pilfered from somewhere. Not only did he have them in his lap trying to steal them, he had been eating the tags. Yes, eating them. They were chewed, mushed-up and soggy. Disintegrating actually. He had a huge smile on his face and looked pretty proud of his make-shift snack. I changed course and veered in between two clothing racks and had a moment of panic. I almost unknowinly stole some clothes and Eli ate the tags. I got all hot and red, threw the tights under a bunch of skirts and made a B-line for the exit. Am I proud of it? No. But I’m owning it.
So that was my H&M shopping experience yesterday. After waiting for 5 years and anticipating opening day, it sucked and my kid ate their stuff.
Next time will be better.