on June 9, 2010
The little girl on the Egyptian Escalator shot me a gap-toothed smile and giggled. She had just caught me staring slightly open-mouthed at the opera singer-- that's right, opera singer-- that stood on the balcony hovering between Womenswear and Home Decoration. It seemed a little ridiculous. She was, after all, accompanied by canned music spewing at high volume from an Ipod dock. But then this was just the most recent in a long line of things that were more than a little ridiculous that I'd seen since ducking in off of Brompton Road. It had taken a moment to adjust to the smells of designer fragrances and new money that wafted through the air, and the sights of fluttering price tags and security guards as far as the eye could see-- not far, considering every available space inside Harrods is crammed with over-the-top displays, something Egyptian-themed, or the proletariat ogling at excess. From the tiled Food Halls to the 23 restaurants to the circus-themed toy section and just... everything... there is a stunning amount of things inside Harrods. I knew it was a department store, I knew it was a big luxury department store, but I didn't actually KNOW until I walked through the door. It is a bit overwhelming inside, especially for someone like me, who regularly shops at Target and doesn't own even a knock-off Coach purse. I wasn't there to buy, I was there just to see. Thankfully, it seemed as though 90% of everyone else in the store had the same idea as I did.We rode the escalator (truly an experience, going from floor to floor beneath the imitation head of a pharaoh) up and down in throngs. We shuffled through the mobbed Food Halls in single file, heads craning in every direction to see every plaster pheasant and gilded plate of oysters. We surreptitiously checked price tags and made faces at the haute couture. And when we left, we breathed a collective sigh of relief-- we had not knocked over a stack of designer sunglasses or smudged a case of diamond-encrusted dog collars. I bought nothing there, but loved the experience. And when i returned home, souvenirs in hand, I took great pleasure in telling my daughter that for all the things in there, I couldn't find a single Barbie in Harrods that she didn't already have.
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