Sometimes I wonder what companies must be thinking when they design their stores. There are the stores that like to rearrange their product every other week so I am stuck wondering where they've put the toilet paper this time. Then there are stores who think the candy aisle should be tucked several rows back, right next to cosmetics (so I can be reminded what all chocolate does to my skin and waistline before I buy it).
But the other day I saw the strangest, cruelest, most bizarre store design ever conceived. In the midst of cluelessness or madness, maybe both, a department store placed the preteen boys' clothes section directly across from woman's lingerie. Nothing like a young man, just realizing cooties is a disease worth catching, already uncomfortable to be out shopping with his mommy, to arrive in the area of the store set aside for his clothes and be faced with row after row of over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders, mysteriously silky, lacy, multicolored underpants, and blank faced mannequins showing off various designs of sexiness.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy embarrassing my tweenage boys as well as the next mom, but making their face blush so deep blood vessels burst while trying to simultaneously avert their eyes and stare just seems a little too cruel. Here they're expecting to spend the afternoon bored out of their mind, trying to find clothes comfortable to wear 638 days in a row without washing, and instead they are forced to think about the curves of the opposite sex and all the ways girls go about covering, altering, showing off those curves. With their moms standing next to them! Boys shouldn't be reminded their moms are female until well after puberty, if ever.
Not to mention the distraction element. Poor mothers trying to buy their sons some clothes. "Do you want boxers or briefs?" "Honey, are you listening to me?" "If you keep looking at your feet while you walk you're going to run into that ... Ouch! Did you bump your head?"
I truly felt bad for those boys. Who thought this was a good idea? Anyone? But that isn't the worst part! Imagine being the adult woman, at the store trying to decide how much support is just right, looking up to see her sons' friend shopping a few steps away. "Why hello! Yes, I am Junior's mother standing here holding up two bras and debating their usefulness. I'm sure we'll both appreciate the mental picture you'll have of me every time you come over to play with my son." I will NEVER be buying my underthings there! Ever.
I'm still in shock over that store design. Why not put the prophylactics next to video game controllers (one could argue they serve the same purpose for some men)? Or maybe feminine hygiene should be stocked across from action figures? Seriously, what are they thinking?