I’ve been very neglectful of my blog this past week…bad me! It’s midterm time for me at school, and (since I want to get rid of as many of my heavy books as I can) I’m scrambling to finish up one or two of my classes before I head back home. Hard to believe that out of my three months here, I only have three weeks left! 😦 I’m still trying to cram in as many more adventures as possible, though, so continue to watch this space!
Today, I did something that I didn’t think I would ever want to do in London: I went to Harrod’s. I was never really into the idea for a few reasons. First, they have a dress code. I don’t really like shopping in places where I have to worry about what I’m wearing. Harrod’s isn’t actually all that bad; nothing too revealing, nothing offensive, and proper shoes at all times. I was still a little afraid of being turned away at the door; not only was I wearing jeans, but my shoes are pretty much in pieces at this point from walking around London in them for two months. I was also hesitant to go to Harrod’s because it just seemed like such a cheesy, touristy thing to do. After all, I really WAS just going as a tourist; no way could I afford to buy anything.
I entered the store and found myself right in the middle of the luxury handbag department. Right away, I felt pretty uncomfortable. I was so out of my league with all the posh brand names I saw around me, and I’ve never understood why people feel they need to spend thousands of dollars (or pounds) on a freaking purse. Plus, I always feel bad when I go into a place to look around, knowing I can’t afford to buy anything. At any rate, even though I was totally out of my element, I was really impressed with how beautiful Harrod’s actually is. The rooms are almost museum-like, and each one is distinct and different. There’s an Egyptian theme to parts of it; the family of Dodi al-Fayed owns the store now, and there’s a memorial to him and Princess Diana that seems to get a lot of attention from visitors. It’s a bit hard to find your way around once you’re inside, though. There are very few helpful “you are here” maps, and nothing telling you exactly what departments are on what floor.
Once I got to the food halls, I felt a bit less out of place. The clerks were friendly, and I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of treats and gift packages that were within a normal person’s price range. Something that wasn’t in a normal person’s price range? The huge picnic basket filled with 1000 pounds worth (pounds as in money, not weight) of Jelly Belly products. That’s about $1500. FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS OF JELLY BELLY, PEOPLE!!!
The only other departmens I spent much time in were the toy department and the pet department. I avoided the clothes like the plague; the price tags were too scary, and I’m just not into designer labels. Even the kids’ departments were super fancy, and had things from Burberry, Gucci, and Prada. Seriously, parents? You’re going to spend THAT money on something that your kid is either going to outgrow or get dirty in about two seconds after putting it on? I don’t get it.
We tend to get a lot of flack in the US for starting Christmas way too early. Well, London has us beat. Not only have I been seeing Christmas candy in the grocery stores since early last month, but Harrod’s already has a separate Christmas department set up….complete with Christmas songs playing over the loudspeakers. I don’t think I’m quite ready for Christmas yet…..
I didn’t stay much longer, and I tried to avoid all the fancy departments on my way out. I know it was just paranoia on my part, but every time I accidentally wandered into designer land and a sales person glanced at me, I kept thinking that they could smell the poor on me or something and were wondering what I was doing in there. I definitely felt a sense of relief when I was back outside! Overall, I really liked Harrod’s itself. The architecture, inside and out, is fantastic, and I was pleasantly surprised at how many reasonably priced items they had for sale. I just don’t fit in with the fancy designer stuff. 🙂