Had I not been awarded the best award of all awards allowing my passage through the doors of the Bloor Street H&M into 'MMMHeaven' last night, you know I would've awoken at the crack of dawn and stood in line with my fellow 'MMMHeads' -- and I'm sure these very specific fangirl terms I just made up will soon catch on, you'll see. I thought maybe because it was a pre-shop that the atmosphere would be more relaxed than the chaos I was sure would ensue the next morning, but now I see the naivety in such thinking.
We arrived early expecting to wait in line, and found one that went around the block, but it started moving quickly so we devised our scheme to divide and conquer. Another line that looped around the store's main level was waiting for us inside. One by one crazed shoppers walked as fast as they could up the escalator, because running is gauche, and as we moved around we looked up to see a lucky lady who had grabbed every single glossy candy wrapper clutch.
I heard women all around me sigh with loss as she stacked those purses under her arm and walked off. We all knew that look, that determination; they were hers now. (While there was a limit of four per type of item, everyone came with a +1 so it was easy to sidestep that rule.)
We had four in our group, but it was everyone for themselves on the second floor.
As we turned the corner to face the front of the store where the merchandise was grouped, all we saw was a sea of bodies. The area had been open for about five minutes and already most of it was in huge piles in people's arms. Not one of us in the gang spoke or even looked at each other, we just dispersed.
Ducking down with what I'll call 'torpedo theory' thinking that if I made myself more compact and led with my head I'd be able to weave through the crowd, I went straight to the coats wanting to find the most enormous of anything before some trendy competition grabbed it. I did quite well climbing through racks and saying "sorry" compulsively to trick people into thinking I was polite and not a blood-hungry Margiela fiend, but I hadn't found an available duvet coat and if anything I had to try on that coat.
Christianne and I met back in line -- she had grabbed the last pair of oversized jeans, I stared at her jealously. As we waited, and patiently at that might I add, Christianne taking on the role of pseudo-mother as she's wont to do, asked a sales associate if there was any way I could just try on one of the down coats. Obviously there wasn't anything she could do, but I was just grateful that my friend had asked, what a gal! We went in, tried on, made out like bandits, and then I realized I was missing a certain furry part of my personality. The grey vintage fur I had walked in with was no longer on my shoulders. We had our first casualty.
It all meant nothing if that fur was gone! It was such a find! I started yelling out to anyone who would listen about my lost baby -- sorry, fur. Scampering around like Jodie Foster in Flightplan, I finally saw it draped over the arm of another sales associate who I hugged, maybe cried a bit on, and of course thanked profusely.
In the flurry of losing something I already owned, I had missed out on my chance at getting my hands on what had drawn me here originally, that damn coat. Someone had put one back, but I watched a woman quicker and less hysterical than I grab it and walk off. I happened to be standing right behind this woman when I reclaimed my fur, and she had turned her back on the down garment. So I snatched it. And it looked horrible on me. And then I realized they were now hanging up all over the place, so there went that dream.
Downstairs I snagged a pair of oversized jeans hanging by the dressing rooms and the two of us, survivors, looked for our lost members. One was in line to pay, the other didn't make it. I hear she went down like a pro though, taking many flutes of champagne with her -- in other words the frenzy wasn't worth it for her, but free booze is always grand.
Christianne and I joined our fellow survivor in line as we compared our spoils of war. He had a white box. All the white boxes upstairs were gone, but there was one in his hands. And in inside was the one bracelet I wanted. "Where did you get that." I didn't ask, I demanded. I felt my warrior instinct return, it was on. He calmly replied with their location, like it was no big deal. There were more.
No, not really. After paying, we hung back to drink as a means to downplay the cost. Two women approached us, beaten down by the chaos of the second floor, and openly envied our purchases. They had seen us upstairs and knew what we had been holding onto, they would try their luck in the morning at the Eaton Centre. We shared tales of 15 minutes earlier and the hardships endured, downed our drinks and walked out into the cold. We were both a little lighter and a little heavier, because damn those bags were heavy.