On inauguration day of the first New York TopShop, a funny little coincidence had me working just down the street at eight in the morning.

So I had a prime position to see the family-reunion of the hysterical yet poised fashion kids forming, wearing t-shirts that said Black Sabbath, or rebel, Never look back, or motherf***er, all quietly arranged one behind the other waiting for their turn to pick over this world of mass shopping.

Oh oui. This story is making me into quite the snob.

“No but seriously. I’ll never understand people who are capable of standing in line for four hours just to buy a few outfits,” I say raising one eyebrow.

“No way,” Zoe says to me. “And on top of that, they’re all going to be wearing the same thing for the next two months. It’s stupid. Same thing happened when H&M opened. You’d see, minimum, 12 girls wearing the exact same mustard yellow vest as you had on, grrr… You’d have mustard coming out of your ears.”

“Ouais. So stupid. I mean, I live in Paris and so I… uhhh… But really, this is stupid.”

A little later, Saturday morning, I finally was able to free up three hours of my time. I wanted to take a stroll, sink into my favorite comfy bookshop/café, take some photos, write in my journal with an aura inspired by the intellectual girl in the café, and reflect on… I dunno…. on our consumer driven society?

And then on top of that, I wanted a pair of shoes. Yeah, I know I know. There is quite the schism in my Trotskyist ideals of the morning. But hey, never said I was Gandhi

And for shoes, TopShop, it’s the top.

And so there. I say why not, I’m two steps away, I’ll make a quick trip. And yeah, of course, if there’s still a line, I’m not waiting in it. I’m not driven to the brink by fashion. Not me, nope.

So I get to the shop and there is a little crowd out in front, nothing too bad. I decide to wait. I rationalize my decision saying that I’m just going for shoes, no dressing rooms. In 15 minutes I’ll be back outside reading sociology books with my new chic shoes, inexpensive too, and impossible to find in Paris.

Ok. I’ll stop.

Now you really get the idea.

Voilà, here’s how I found myself THREE HOURS later, arms overflowing with outfits, sweating in the fitting rooms after waiting in line for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, yes mesdames et messieurs, FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, lost in the guilt of fashion mathematics just to decide in the end to get feather skirt AND the silk skirt AND the sequined leggings, because TopShop, they want you to believe some stuff, but in reality, IT’S REALLY EXPENSIVE, and with no shoes on the horizon because they all are just too cheap-looking EXCEPT the ones that they no longer have in my size…. AND already late for my 1:00 lunch AND having had to throw out any dream of a caffe latte with my thoughtful aura in my favorite bookshop…

On est bien peu de choses, et ma jupe en plumes roses, me l’a dit samedi matin…*

Translation : Tim Padraic Sullivan

*Translator’s note : The original Francoise Hardy lyric is something like, “We are all fleeting, my friend the rose said to me this morning.” But our always clever Garance switched in her new pink feather skirt. You get where its going.