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Mother of growing kids falls into Gap

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

Cutting through babyGap at the mall on our way to GapKids, my youngest son pinches a pair of tiny jeans, holds them up, and says, “What is this, some kinda doll sale?” I stare at the bitsy britches. And like it was yesterday, I remember the first thing I ever bought my firstborn – a tiny, powder blue zip-up bodysuit that I still have.

“Mom! Let’s go!” says my “baby” in a deep man-voice that startles me, almost as much as the fact that he’s my height and now 11. He clomps ahead of us into GapKids. But once inside, I immediately see that something’s wrong. Something’s very, very wrong …

All the clothes have shrunk.

“Mom, seriously?” He turns on his heel, the size of my fist, and plods toward Gap. THE Gap. The Gap where I shop. The Gap where grown men shop. The Gap where people who can vote and drive and weld steel shop. I don’t understand.

I follow him into the front of the store where I’m immediately met with a skyline of soaring tall people. Monumental mannequins tower over me from a display table, wearing gigantic shirts and the longest pants I’ve ever seen. It’s like some Big & Tall horror movie.

All of a sudden, they break free from their stands – their stiff legs stomping toward me. The price tags slip from the sleeves, the sizes swinging before my eyes – XL, XXL, XXXL. Other mannequins from around the store lumber toward me like zombies – I see a 36 waist coming from the left. A 40 from the right. The clothes hang and drag like tents from their stiff wooden bodies, and they howl and laugh as they huddle around me.

It’s Night of the Living Threads. And in my head I am screaming, but my feet won’t move. They move in closer … tighter. I feel one grab my shoulder …

“Ma’am, do you have any questions?”

A human with a headset stands before me. Do I have any questions? YES, I have questions! What’s with the skyscraper zombie mannequins in the ginormous clothes? What’s with the sizable shirts, humongous hats and jumbo jeans? And what have you done with our children?

You call this a Gap? This isn’t the Gap at all, this is the Giant Crevice. It’s the Grand Canyon of clothing stores, swallowing moms as they plead and beg for the return of their little babies. And what’s with all the cobalt and navy, where is the POWDER BLUE?!

Suddenly, the scariest of all zombies stands before me – my son. He moans that the 28 waist is too small, and then shuffles over to the 29s. The floor beneath me cracks and splits open, and I free-fall into the bowels of SouthPark Mall, screaming, “See if they have them in a powder bluuuuuuuue …”

Forget the Gap. I’m gonna do my shopping online.

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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