Here's the story from China, and sad to say, it's not a joke. If you click, you'll see the pictures from the day in December when a man who had been shopping with his girlfriend for five hours chose to jump to his death from the 7th floor of a mall rather than go to one more shoe store.
Five hours is a rather long time to be prowling through shoe stores, certainly so, but he didn't have to jump, for the love of Pete. I'm sorry for how this trip to the mall turned out for this man, but for those of us still facing more trips to the Shoepermarket, I offer this advice from someone who has been married for 40 years: wear your watch and take your phone.
Just as separate bathrooms keep your Old Spice and her Imprévu in their own olfactory zones, most stores in the mall are not set up for couples to shop merrily, so it's the smart guy and gal or guy and guy or gal and gal who synchronize their Timexes (if you're wearing Rolexes, you already have someone doing your shopping for you) and set a time and place to meet up after all the tryin' on and goin' to the changin' room is over. This is because five minutes spent outside the changing room, waiting for the door to open so you can see if the clothes fit or not, can be a longer time to wait than the time we have spent in a holding pattern while Jennifer Aniston sought her perfect soulmate.
The advantages of getting to the mall at 2:30 and saying "Meet you at Yogurt Yogurt Yogurt at 4" are innumerable. I will immediately head for Dollar Tree and stock up on shower gels, sweet potato muffin mixes and DVDs of cinematic triumphs such as Artie Lange's "Beer League" and still have plenty of time to people-watch a while. And Peggy gets to shop without hearing me caterwaul "Can we go home now?" every five minutes.
And I get to avoid having to answer the question, "Which dress do you like better?" Because there is no right answer to that.