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Canada: shopping in Toronto
On 5th July I hit downtown Toronto for some serious shopping. First I went to Whole Foods to pick up lunch and vegan chocolate-chip cookies (soya free!). Then I wandered down Yonge Street. When I was out with BC & Siobhan last Friday night, we went past a gift shop that was closing down. In the window were some utterly beautiful wolf bookends, along with signs claiming the shop would be closing on June 30th and there was 90% off everything. Well, in the end we got up too late on Saturday to go there, and I had been sad about this. Walking past the shop randomly, I saw it was still open, and now claiming to be closing on July 8th. So I went in to enquire about the bookends. This is where the owner & I had a communication difficulty.

She told me the price was $149 for the two. Now, that didn't sound much like 90% off (did they really start at over $1000?!), but I liked them enough to let that slide. £80 seemed reasonable for something that nice. But then she claimed that someone else - a "collector" - wanted to buy the bookends & had placed a $10 deposit. However, she could ring them to cancel the order if I was ready to buy today. She didn't have another set, that was the only one. I believe this was supposed to be some sort of emotional blackmail - buy now or forever lose your chance! But to me, with only two bookends available, the fair idea was to split them up - I could have one and the other person could have the other. I suggested she rang the other person to ask if that would be ok, and offered her $100 for one. She wouldn't even consider it. This made it clear that she was messing me around - the fact she wouldn't ring the other person in front of me. So I bought a couple of much cheaper things and walked out.

The extortionate prices were confirmed when I went into a tacky tourist shop a few doors down and found items of similar artistic talent for much less - two wolves engraved into a piece of rock for $21.99. Maybe it wasn't an omg limited edition by some expensive collectables company, but I don't really care about that.

Then I went to a gaming & comic shop called Hairy Tarantula. Here, I could have spent several hundred pounds & bought half the store, but instead limited my purchases to another copy of Eco Fluxx for otterylexa, a card game called Attack of the Killer Bunnies which has judiff written all over it, & a present for Peter (gerwinium).

Then I visited the American Apparel shop and bought some pairs of very shiny leggings. (I bought pink and purple plain jersey leggings, black satin,
these shiny silver leggings, and these ones in purple, which isn't available on the UK site.) They didn't have everything I wanted in my size, but now that I know how the sizing works I can order the rest from their website.

Finally I went in the H&M in the Eaton Centre, but there was a humungous queue for the changing room and by that stage, I was all shopped out. So I got the streetcar a few stops east so I could meet futabachan & Amanda for dinner at Spring Rolls - a restaurant I'd chosen based on the fact it was advertising a "new vegan menu" in the Toronto Vegetarian guide while still offering lots of meaty & fishy dishes for omnivores. The beancurd and asparagus was exquisite (an interesting blend of flavours - spicy and tasty without being chilli burny hot), and apparently the others' food was excellent too.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 20th August 2007 23:45 (UTC) (Link)
Do they have H&M where you are? My first experience with their Toronto Eaton Centre store was exactly like yours - I looked at a bunch of stuff I might like to own, but couldn't face the changerooms and fled.

But I visited another one of their stores in another Toronto shopping centre last week, and discovered that my diameters seemed to be slightly too big for the biggest size I could find in everything I tried on. They called their biggest size 16 (I forget what numbers they had for the non-North American sizes). This was particularly disappointing since they had a really excellent purple colour in a lot of their shirts.

I don't know if that's a consistent policy for all H&M stores, or my bad luck, or what.
baratron From: baratron Date: 21st August 2007 14:19 (UTC) (Link)
H&M exist here. I find I have to basically ignore the numbers on the sizes, because they're not very useful. Once, I found a black shiny catsuit that I liked and looked through the sizes - and found that sizes 36, 38 & 40 were exactly the same width but different lengths - odd, because that European size is supposed to be a width/diameter measurement!

I'm somewhat leery of the shop anyway because a lot of their clothes are made in developing countries, and I wonder to what extent I'm getting a bargain on a shirt because the person who made it got paid 20p that day. And they're inclined to use odd fabrics that are uncomfortable or transparent or stretch in one axis but not the other. But they do occasionally have things that I like that also fit me and look ok on me, so they're worth a look if I can cope with the fact that 80% of the things I like won't actually fit regardless of what the size number says.
2 comments or Leave a comment