My local H&Ms have been doing a deal lately where you get a £5 gift card with your purchases, which is then valid the following week. I buy a lot of my plain tees and socks from H&M so I thought it would be worth buying a long sleeve tee or something in order to take advantage of a future £5 off.
This was a bad plan.
There are two H&Ms near me: one in the city centre, and one in a local town. I live roughly equidistant between the two. I prefer the smaller one, since it has a better stock of basics, but I usually have more opportunity to visit the city centre branch while waiting for the train to work (chock full of polyester, antler prints and lurex hotpants though it is). So I nipped in to the large store in order to buy something boring and vaguely useful and acquire my voucher.
I'm very bad at shopping with a time limit (if I miss my train, I do not get paid, and this is bad for my shopping habits). This is especially the case at H&M, where the standard is so variable. Price is also an unusually bad indicator of quality in that store - I've had beautiful organic cotton tops for £7.99, and pieces of total crap for £20. And everything looks the bloody same! When I search their website for jersey tops, for example, I get over 100 hits, at similar prices. Trying to sort through the store for a diamond in the rough therefore seems like the physical equivalent of googling.
So, obviously, I walked out with the first stripey thing I saw. It turns out it makes me itch. Mistake #1.
This set the scene for Mistake #2, in which I go back the following week. I wanted a stripey top that did not make me itch. I had 20 minutes before the store closed and I had to run for my 8.10pm train. And this was the last day the voucher was valid, so that 20 minutes was it. I was hunting through the store, feeling up everything in sight (too thin! Too see through! Too itchy!), starting to feel like a particularly substandard version of Jack Bauer from 24. Trying to find a top isn't exactly saving the bloody world, is it? I finally found something I didn't loathe, took it to the tills, queued until the next ice age, and at last reached the front. While standing there I idly checked the tag and realised it was a US 10, not a UK 10.
At this point I gave up and went home. I had a brief glow of satisfaction where I reflected on the fact that I had resisted the temptation to buy something, anything, for the sake of getting my £5 worth of free.
On the train home I remembered that I needed socks.