it gets verse and verse

how many shopping days was that? 

  • published 12/13/11, picked up here after seeing one too many "Christmas in July" and "Christmas in August" posts
In which, having grimly contemplated the future of retailing as we know it, wellfedfred attempts to bring the holiday spirit to some utterly undeserving urchins:

Sometimes I shop in the country
Sometimes I shop in the town
Sometimes I feed the kids at the mall
When the sitter has let me down.

Santa’s on a beer break, 
J.Crew is empty and cold
The mall is draped in tacky, 
I’m feeling tired and old.

So home we go in traffic
No TV or X-box tonight
We’ll make Christmas lists together
And bring to our dark moods some light.
I’ve mixed a lovely eggnog (mine is stronger than the kids’)
I’ve managed to light a Yule Log and stop the “He didn’t -- you dids!”
Pencils out, paper ready, we sit down by the fire
For the kids and I and the catalogs with Santa to conspire.
(dainty sip of eggnog)

Their lists are long
But mine is longer
Their eggnog’s sweet
But mine is stronger.
(sips again)

Dear Santa, you and I have had
A long and close relation,
So if you go to J.Crew for me,
Follow instructions without variation.
(sips eggnog)
One:  no blended yarns from livestock that feel suspiciously like a cat 
Two:  no flimsy silk-ish tops that need camis, ‘cause they make me itch.
Three: no mini skirts, no leather shorts (the public will thank you for that).
Four: no falling hems, no slipping cuffs, even just by a stitch
(mmm eggnog)
No splitting seams, no fraying edges, no plastic threads -- 
And please oh please not one thing that sheds!
Oh, festive spirits, joyful smiles,
No, the kids are laughing at the catalog styles
(slllurrps eggnog)
Santa, dear, when I’m dressed up in finest holiday fettle
Don’t spoil my ensemble with mystery metal
(pours more eggnog)

Gosh, this was going to be such a sweet little list
And look at me now, I am totally p----d.
            (chugs eggnog)
 And NO you may NOT taste my eggnog.

Give me back that catalog, you little wretch, or I will tie a knot in the top of your stocking
And what I will tell Santa about you and your brothers will be totally shocking.                  (urrpppp)
❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦  ❦

The song of the summer markdown, a no longer endangered species

Off to the tailor 
Or back in the mailer
60-day probation
Seasonal frustration

from The Whining Diner and wellfedfred, 7/13/12

Emails and fanfares and notifications
herald the arrival of my gorgeous new shoes.
My feet are dancing in anticipation,
My package is coming – oh joy! Oh joy!
It's Christmas in April, I'll have some new toys!
I ordered two shirts – confirmed! And shipped!
I ordered pajamas, I'll be so well equipped,
I ordered a jacket and two pairs of pants
Should the world situation take me to France
And in case of global warming
or a crisis that calls for disarming
or a nuclear threat from a fanatical meanie,
I'll distract the bad guys in my paisley bikini.
      (dreams on)

After a wait, the package is here!
Oh, happiness! Oh, joy! Oh – dear.
With a hurried but thorough inspection
I learn that my treasures fall short of perfection.
The jacket is missing a button, a zipper has broken a tooth,
one of the shirts, um, smells kinda funny,
and the PJ's are well past their youth.
     We won't even discuss the shoes.

Noooo, how could this happen, to me of all people?
I pick up the phone, in voice trembling and feeble
I recount the disaster to customer service
and list my woes in descending order

to a blank-voiced Martian on a training recorder.
She turns my tales of woe to fiction:
The broken zipper's a designer feature,
the missing button is just me being nervous,
leave the jacket open, the weather is sunny.
The shirt's aroma is just an illusion
and the PJ's require a special procedure. 
     We won't even mention the shoes.

I'm leaving tomorrow, I pitifully moan,
can't get to a store, can you rush a replacement?
Mars girl tells me there must be some confusion,
I take a deep breath in staggering amazement
Can I help you with anything else? says the clone.

To save the world, one needs proper attire,
Not remnants retrieved from J.Crew's sub-basement,
And I bang down the phone with elaborate curses
That aren't fit for these family verses
but constitute a terrifying malediction
wishing down on their heads consequences most dire.
As in, you should have to wear those dirty worn mis-sized shoes!

from The Whining Diner and wellfedfred, 2/11/12

An Anthem to a Merchant Prince

After having read this in Madison Avenue Spy, I decided that this little Song of Praise was even more à propos than it was when I first posted it. Feel free to sing along.

       intro: Stagger Lee
The night was dark,
The girls wore schmattas,
And the prices kept going up.
      chorus:  Oh Maryland, my Maryland

Oh, Leader Dear, we sing to you
You brought us stripes of white and blue
You thought up tee shirts, jeans and blouses,
Long distance, from one of your many houses.

From furs and fig leaves you have brought us
-- as your PR folks have taught us --
To synthetic blends which, though not better,
Make a cheap and disposable sweater.

The mystery metals you invented
Brought bling unto the golfing classes,
Do we really look better represented
In socks with heels and nerdy glasses?

To you we owe the vest of feathers,
The raincoat that can't go out in wet weather,
To you, the Twig, the Moss, the Heather,
And elastic-waisted shorts of leather.

Dear Leader, it's to you we turn
When for sleeveless coats we yearn,
For brocade shorts, for sequined maxis
Too costly to be worn in taxis.
You heard our prayers and brought back color,
(though seam allowances are smaller),
May your neons ever brightly burn
(though pilly cashmere we'll still spurn.)

Published in J.CrewAficionada, 12/24/10
On this most joyful of holidays
Merry Christmas, dear JCAs!
May your trees be bright with sequins and glitter
While round their trunks leftover ruffles billow
May Santa pick up your wishes from Twitter
And bring you tweed jackets in plum, bark and willow,
Slimming pants with fit beguiling
That still leave room for Christmas dinner,
Tops with sleeves that don't get thinner, 
Shoes you can wear and still keep smiling!

Happy Holidays, Dear Leader!
Not so much traffic from Style Feeder?
Stock price flirting with the ER?
With a looming stockholder strike suit,
You might consider sending some peace fruit
Or is any kind of mention better than no PR?
Santa's got a gift for you just the same
Brought by his First Assistant Jolly Troll
A 12-piece boxed set of DVDs
The Director's Cut of Spiderman Meets Quality Control.

Joyeux Noël, exquisite Jenna!
Trailing clouds of sequins as you go
From Nana's dress-up box to raking in the dough
We admire you for smashing the glass ceiling
And just to show we bear you no hard feeling
We've booked you private sessions with Trinny and Susannah.

Tidings of the season, tired SAs
With joy and hope we shop and then with sorrow
We let you rest from Saturdays to Mondays
Unless we need the credit back tomorrow.
We hope your feet survive this busy season,
And that you will enjoy a little bit of teasin'.

And as for me, employment looms at last
Puffy shorts with tights and boots
Sequined top and purse so hairy
That once looked new and bold and – scary –
The economy's made me less of a snob
The outfit's perfect for my new paying job
Ringing bells and tooting flutes,
I'm the new evening jester at Ye Olde Tymes Past
(All Ye Can Gette Downe For A Buck).
um, the rhyme better stop here.

And to all a good night

Published in J.CrewAficionada, 11/11/10

The Final Verse of A Crewfest Carol
(Crewfest is sorta like Festivus, only you can't return the presents). 
Here is the last verse of our version of The 12 Days:

On the 12th day of Crewfest, my PS sent to me:
12 sweaters shedding
11 Prato knockoffs
10 sequins falling
9 seams a-splitting
8 cashmeres pilling
7 flimsy camis
6 minnies clinging 
5 brassy chains
4 Mickey cards
3 dropped hems
2 hole-y tees
And some luggage in a pear tree.

On looking at the guy in the September 2010 JC catalog
(published in JCA September 15, 2010)

Feed the hungry,
Clothe the naked?
Quarterly statements make or break it:
Pilly cashmere, splitting seams,
Ruffled cleavage, itchy Dreams
Lead us on to wardrobe hell.
Do we care? There's clothes to sell!

So if you ask WWJD,
Mickey says He'd wear JC.

Hallowe'en, November 1, 2010, in which Fred has stayed home for trick-or-treaters; published in J. Crew Aficionada, November 1, 2010)

After all the little mermaids and princesses had gone home,
I went to turn the lights off when I heard a spectral moan
The JC catalog models had gone out to trick or treat
Pigeon-toed and knock-kneed, they were seeking things to eat.

Stumbling in their platform heels, the models came a-hobblin'
Tripping over droopy hems, scarier than any goblin
"Trick or treat!" they cried, "We're starving!
No more juice or celery sticks!
Give us pot roast," they moaned feebly.
"Give us chocolate, give us Twix!
Ere the military pixies hunt us,
Ere the lambies herd us home,
Give us creamy mashed potatoes,
Give us milkshakes topped with foam!"

Suddenly the night was bright with sequins' deadly glare
As the tempting Countess Knockoff twirled a rhinestone-studded snare,
And all the tiny phantoms
Melted into midnight air.

Only a trace of beads and sequins,
Only a trace of nylon thread
Was on the driveway in the morning,
Dia de los Muertes, Day of the Dead.

On heedlessly overcharging Canadian consumers for U.S. (made in China) goods
The law-abiding Canadienne
Is known for her sense of humor
She pays her taxes when they're due
Why, sometimes she pays more than you
Especially when she buys J.Crew.

She's put up with a lot from dear J.Crew,
The mis-spelled French, the mis-sized shoe,
But charge the tax and shipping twice?
Tabernac! It makes her spew!

She's our neighbor to the North,
Our shield 'against bears and glaciers,
So when Dear Leader sallies forth
To overcharge for blazers
Byinflating the costs of shipping and taxes,
She takes out her pens, her laptops, her faxes
And calls the RCMP out, the journalists and anchormen,
To stand by the Canuck consumer.

As should we all, in loonies or dollars,
whether doctors or teachers or models or scholars.
JCAs, be steadfast and loyal to our community,
And don't let Canadiennes be ripped off with impunity!

published in J.CrewAficionada, August 21, 2011

Fred goes shopping and is dazzled by the return of color for spring

Sunglasses off and on again,
No more will I look like a little brown wren
For color is back 
And neon's the new black!
I just have to learn how to refer
To the various components of this incandescent blur:

Blue is green and green is yellow,
Gray is bright, chartreuse is mellow,
Dusty Rose is shocking pink,
Rosy Taupe - light brown, you'd think -
But no, look at my mismatched clothes,
Rosy Taupe is Dusty Rose!
Mossy Taupe is Burnt Sienna,
Desert Earth was Weathered Henna,
But now it's closer to Army Green
Or Vintage Bronze or Baby Breen,
Which is what the army wears when it goes out to dance 
In camofleur chiffon and military pixie pants.

A cheerful gray, a merry puce,
A winemaker's nightmare of Burgundy Fog,
Come, lift a glass to Faded Sky,
Heather Slate, Yellow Clay and eight shades of salmon.
Another glass, another glass, these shades are jammin'
Tomorrow I'll have to grab an outfit on the fly,
Try as I may, I can't deduce
What I'm wearing without a shot of the hair of the dog.
With regret, the verse stops here,
Not that more colors couldn't appear,
But nothing rhymes with orange.

January 28, 2012, the whining diner

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