Actually, they had me before I got all the way in the front door. Once I caught a full on glimpse of the Pink table, it was a wrap…

 This wasn’t my first visit to Charming Charlie’s, but my third.  It is a sensory overload of color. On Peninsula Town Center’s grand opening weekend a friend and I wandered in there after being unimpressed with their Lane Bryant (the Williamsburg location is still the best with a side for clothes and a side for their Cacique lingerie and a plushy pink dressing room). Oh what divine providence!  We make a beeline towards  the table oohing and aahing; slipping on bracelets and holding pink beaded dainties up to our ears.  “Look at these pink shells!”  Still armed with the original intention of not staying long, we tear ourselves away from the very pink and overly girly (but still fabulous) table to briefly survey the rest of  the store and in order to be back in the car in twenty minutes.  This is when we run headlong into the turquise and yellow tables nearby.  “Hey, they have these shells in turquoise too. AND yellow.” If this were a cheesy movie or cartoon, this would be the lightbulb moment where the record scratches, the crickets stop chirping and a dish is dropped in the background.  Almost simultaneously we both look up and around and take in the scene and see the boutique like setting with displays and displays of jewelry, purses, scarves and shoes all happily housed together by color.  Oh sweet Jesus. It’s a blur after that as we dashed…okay I dashed….from table to table like a bee cross pollinating flowers and gasping at every one.  “Gasp! Ooh look!  It looks better in green put the blue one back!” “Indignant Gasp! (clutching at the imaginary pearls around my neck) I didn’t see this at the bronze table! What’s up with that? I’m gettin’ it.” “Gasp!  How come they have this purse in pink but not orange? Wait!…(hurling purse at friend for safekeeping) is that the same purse in black and white?” We still managed to be in and out in thirty minutes with minimal damage (one purse, one necklace/earrings set) but still long enough for at least one of the associates to laugh at us and say “Everybody has that reaction their first time here.” Standing in the checkout line and deciding that I needed a new pair of diva-ish shades I swore under my breath and in the same tone I might use as if I were swearing to a bitter enemy who may have won this battle…”Oh, I’ll be back…” Fast forward a few weeks to another unsuspecting Saturday when I introduced a different friend to CC’. This time most of the “Gasp!’s came from her but I still had my fair share; albeit, the  majority of mine were replaced by smirks and “I told you you would like this place” head nods. Now with no time constraints I was able to do some real damage. Which is a problem.  We were in there for at least an hour before we even began to make our way to the checkout line which winds itself strategically past the sunglasses displays (“Oh yeah that’s right, I need a new pair of shades….”); a final temptation before you approach the cashier at the judgement seat…er, checkout counter.  Our associate was friendly enough. Chatty without being annoying.  Why yes! We did find everything we were looking for, thank you! Why Yes I agree! that is a beautiful piece and it does look best in silver! Why sure! I’d love to sign up for the Charming Charlie’s fan club where I’ll receive email updates, coupons and invitations to special events. How thoughtful! (Note: I have yet to receive any email updates, coupons OR invitations to special events. I’m just sayin’…..).  I remember my sister advising me about reactions in retail establishments and it is something I still practice.  Even if you CAN’T afford it when the sales associate says it costs 17 trillion dollars avoid the urge to suck your teeth, contort your face and exclaim something along the lines of “Pshhh! (Insert your favorite expletive here) I ain’t payin’ no $XX.XX for that! I ain’t got that kind of money!”(insert racially or culturally stereotyped eye/head/neck/hand gesture of your choice). In other words..don’t act ‘ignant! Maintain some dignity instead and respond with a simple “Hmm…I wasn’t looking to pay that much for that.” To my chagrin, however, my brain was unable to retrieve that bit of etiquette quickly enough so that when the woman pronounced a total of $77.07, in mid-sentence I whipped my head towards her quicker than I’d intended to and with mouth wide open (literally)  responded with an intelligent……..”Huh?!!”  Did she say $7.01?…I thought. That can’t be right.  She repeated the amount three times while laughing and yet each time my response didn’t venture far from “Huh?!!”  My accomplice thought it was hilarious and will testify that I maintained the look of shock on my face for the next few hours where you could often find me staring into the distance and whispering “Did I really just spend $77….on costume jewelry?”  In my defense, I did get some cute pieces AND the jewelry is a better selection and  quality than the plastic-y stuff you get at places like Claire’s and Icing and even my beloved Target. Still…the bag is sitting on my dresser with most of the stuff in there one, because I’ve run out of space in my jewelry box (don’t judge me) and two….I need outfits to wear with said jewelry. Now when I walk past the bag I still shake my head remembering how much I impulsively spent on it’s contents and I find myself thinking……Hmm, I need a watch.

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