First things first; I love Harrods. It is my favourite department store in all of London. In fact, when talking about London, one should always include Harrods! It’s a beautiful landmark that everyone should see if they ever get the chance to come to London.
For years, I had much admiration for the store. Well let’s be honest, clearly I still do. But I have now finally figured out how they make all their money. And it’s not in the amazingly expensive, unattainable for the working class, products that they sell. Oh no no no. This last Friday I finally found out the truth!
I’ll set the mood for you guys. I was sitting on the number 14 bus heading towards central London. Starvation had kicked into overdrive mixed with the excruciating feeling that it was only a matter of time before I peed myself. It was most definitely not a pleasant combination to have on a bus journey. I was approaching Harrods and thought, YES, I will go there to relieve myself around fancy surroundings. It will be devine. A posh pee. Ah how wonderful. So I got off the bus.
Walking into Harrods still blows my mind. I have absolutely no idea why. I guess it just seems unconquerable. As I entered the beautiful temptress I was met with so many shiny and pretty things. It was like when a kid has ADHD. I stopped at one object and then 2 seconds later something else glistened in the corner of my eye and I was off to admire that other new shiny object. I did this even in the food section. I was so thorough that I was like an inspector trying to solve an unsolvable case using only the clues set out before him. Inspecting each one, in all its detailed gloriousness. You get my drift right? At this point I was about to burst. So I sadly, stopped gawking at things and set out on a mission to find the bathroom.
At first I was adamant that I was going to find it myself. This is where I wondered around the ground floor like a moron! I was touring each section with such speed and moving my head around from side to side that I was now starting to become suspicious to staff. So I conceded. I asked a woman employee. She told me to go straight and then right where I would see escalators that will take me to the first floor and to my salvation. Sounded simple and straight forward enough. So I waddled on.
I went straight and then right. No escalators. So I did a circle to make sure, and nothing. After what seemed like a good 20 minutes I found the escalator sign! Yippee! I travelled up to the first floor with happiness. Not long now. At this point if my bladder could talk it would have been swearing up a storm at me. I desperately tried to think of anything else. But my mind was fixated on the fact that I was definitely going to pee myself.
I got off the escalator and was faced with a map. You know, one of those ‘you are here’ maps. Score! This will be easy. I saw where I was and I saw where the bathrooms were. They were literally around the next corner. Great now I have a plan of attack! I charged forward. But, do you guys know what I was then faced with as I turned that corner?! This. This is what I was faced with…
All I could think was ‘Oh gosh Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas any more’. This long corridor represented my Alice in Wonderland moment. As I was becoming increasingly more desperate for the bathroom a single thought kept repeating itself in my mind. I was going to die in here after I pee myself. I was going to be dead on this marble floor, covered in urine. And then I would be forever known as that freak woman who died in Harrods with pee all over herself and the pretty marble floors.
After a few more turns around the first floor, I found the bathrooms! It was like finding my shinning beacon of bright light guiding me to the land of relief. I ran for it.
Now I was feeling like myself again. Cool, calm and collected. And so, I stepped back inside the labyrinth of expensive garments feeling empowered that I now had the ability to guide myself out with ease. Ummm…. nope! I got lost again. I GOT LOST AGAIN. I couldn’t even find the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole corridor. I literally thought that Harrods was playing a game on me. The rooms constantly were changing around and by then I was convinced that I never entered the same room twice. And that’s when I realised. This right here is how they make so much money. This store lours you in, tempting you from the street outside. And BAM! As soon as you step one foot inside you are lost in a vortex that sucks you in deeper and deeper. By the end of my experience I was so delirious that I was ready to spend all my money on shit that I couldn’t afford and didn’t need. You end up getting stuck, walking around in circles trying to find your way out. You start to lose hope. You’re running on empty, so you wander to the food counters on the ground floor. At this point you are on your hands and knees, crawling over to a stool that is beckoning you over in a soft coaxing tone. You throw a chunk of money at the waiter just to get some food your way. A meal that was no doubt worth a weeks worth of groceries all because you just don’t care any more.
Harrods, I have found out your secret, you cunning minx, you. You should be ashamed of yourself. I’m a poor girl, that needed some refuge and you toyed with my sanity in a time of crisis. You get us while we are down. And then we are just stuck. Blobbing around finally coming to the conclusion that we will never see the light of day again. I lost the meaning of time in there people! And since us mere mortals are no match for such a strong force field we decide to make Harrods our home. That’s why there are so many people in there all the time. It’s ram packed. They have been in there for years guys! Just walking around with a hundred Harrods’ bags picking up stuff for their long hibernating experience in the store. It is their survival instincts kicking in. And just in case you think I’m playing, how about this. Why don’t you pick a spot on the shop floor and just stand there. Look at the people that are passing you by. I promise you will see the same confused and glazed over eyeballs passing you over and over again. Like a broken record.
So next time you visit Harrods come prepared. Remember to have a big ol’ bottle of water with you. Take baby sips. Don’t do big swigs because then you will suffer the horror of trying to find the bathroom. Attach one end of a ball of string to one of the entrances and drag that ball around with you. It will be your ‘save a life’ card. I would have suggested breadcrumbs like in Hansel and Gretel but if those people were anything like me, they would be so poor and so famished they would drop down to the floor and hoover those breadcrumbs right up off the floor. Either way trust in my advice, you will thank me later. And for god sake, don’t look at the shiny objects. It’s a trick I tell ya! A TRICK!