But, as I walked into the store, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the sound of thumping, booming, ear-splitting pop music.
I'm not noise sensitive. I'm actually married to a sound mixer and in my own line of work I have had to stand right next to speaker columns during rock concerts. I've videotaped airplane take-offs and I was even on pit road during the Daytona 500. But, none of these experiences prepared me for the deafening decibels I endured at Hollister. It was like a top-40 terror attack on my senses.
My daughter, unbothered by the rave-level beat, bolted for the back of the store where the desired sale items were housed. I tried to follow, but kept bumping into tables and clothing racks. Was I getting cataracts? The store was so very dark. Did Hollister forget to pay its electric bill?
I worried, what if I stumbled and fell, hopelessly injured? No one would find me or hear my screams, my body concealed by darkness and my stench of death masked by perfume.
Wishing I had night vision goggles to guide me, I reached out for the clothes to steady myself as I searched for my daughter. The workers went about their business as if they could see clearly. Apparently, Hollister found employees who were part mole-people.
Finally, I found her. I yelled over the music. "Did you find some things to try on?" Her lips moved as if she were speaking to me.
"What? Are you talking? I can't hear you." I screamed back.
Eyes rolling, she used hand signals to indicate she needed a dressing room. We found one, locked, of course. The omnipresent employees had suddenly vanished. In any other store I would have shouted, "Hello" or "Yoo-hoo" to get some attention, but here I would have needed a vuvuzela, the horn so popular with South Africans cheering at a soccer match.
We trekked to the front of the store and found a young worker. I mouthed the words, "She wants to try these on."