"I know, I know," Mama said to me. "You don't DO Primark. I won't tell anybody you were there," she looked at me, "If you buy me a coffee." I should have know- nobody keeps a secret without payment anymore.
"Fine," I told her.
"Urgh. I can smell the chav-i-ness from here." I shuddered. "I can't believe you bought something from there in the first place," I droned, "How can you stand to shop where a million others do? Aren't you worried that you'll see somebody in the same outfit just walking down the street?" I cradled my head in my hands as I remembered the morning I saw one of the 'Hollyoaks' girls wearing a faux-fur gilet not dissimilar to my own high-street bargain one Sunday morning, the pain and humiliation paralysing me once more. I hate the high street. It makes everybody look like clones of one another.
I mean, I understand the need for budget shopping, I do, but even just the people walking alongside us were making me gag ever so slightly. Most had pushchairs. Most were younger than me. Most chewed gum and talked loudly on mobiles. Charity shop, discount shop, factory shop, free shop... anything but ass-produced tat is okay by me.
"Oh mama! Look at that!" I said, pouncing on a knee-length cotton grey summer dress. "OHMYGOD it is TEN British pounds! TEN!" I whispered, quickly and excitedly.
Mama leaned into my neck. "Everybody here knows that it is cheap, love, you don't have to whisper."
"You're whispering," I whispered.
"Well you are!" she whispered back.
"Oh. My. Gosh. And that!" I said out of the side of my mouth, picking up another summer frock. "Twelve pounds!"
"Yes, Laura, it's cheap. That's why we are here. The cheapness," Mama replied slowly. "Get over it."
"Okay, okay," I stuttered, frantically searching through the rails. "I get it. I just didn't realise it was all so... you know... cheap." I wiped away a bead of sweat from my brow. "And so... so AWESOME-OH-MY-GOD-LOOK-AT-TAHT-IT-COULD-BE-MISSONI!" I was beginning to spit as I talked.
"Laura. Laura! Look at me. I'll be in the returns department ." I mumbled something back at her. Probably. "I'll give you a minute," she said, as she walked off.
I picked up one item. And another. And another and another and another. My arms nearly caved under the weight of all the (WAIT!)... mass-produced... everybody wears it... I'll see somebody in exactly the same thing tomorrow... tat.
It was wrong. All wrong.
I bought the lot.