Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb.

I absolutely HATE to shop. There are not many worse ways to put me in a crappy


Duff McKagan: MALL is a Four-Letter Word!

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb.

I absolutely HATE to shop. There are not many worse ways to put me in a crappy mood than to actually have to go to a mall and browse. I know I'm not alone in this (right, gentlemen?). However, as many of you know, I live with 3 females (my wife and 2 daughters); the mall has become an entrenched battlefield in my existence. Ah, but the Christmas season is here and I will have to put on my armor and charge the enemy.

Some of my earliest memories are of me shopping with my mom. With all 7 of my older brothers and sisters either in school or out of the house altogether, my mom would have to take me along when she went to get one of us new jeans or tennis shoes. I remember playing under the racks of clothes and getting lost. I remember the day care at the Bon Marche downtown. I remember getting dizzy from all of the different colors and fragrances. I remember getting hot and sweaty. One of my first independent thoughts was: "When I grow up, I will NEVER go shopping!"

When I first met my wife, I would grit my teeth through a cheery

smile to shop with her. This is one of the things that new couples do.

I was a bit sheepish at first to tell her of my shopping phobia.

Somewhere around a year-and-a-half into our relationship, I had to

finally tell her that shopping just wasn't my 'bag'. We had just gone

into some sale at Nordstrom's and it was a fuckin' maelstrom of mostly

females, frantically vying for the same low-priced pashmina or some

other such trifle. Suddenly, it all came back, the dizziness, the

perfume-induced nausea, the suffocating clothes racks. I told my wife

that I had to get out of there.

"Honey, I just

think you are over-reacting," she replied. I think she was just bummed

out that she'd just lost her shopping pal (me). Well, as chance would

have it, the two of us were watching the news a few weeks later and a

story came on about people just like me. The story highlighted the fact

that a phenomenon was gripping America. It afflicted mostly men and

this shopping semi-paralysis was even backed by scientific testing. I

was not alone! There were other people who just hate to shop. My wife

looked at me and said, "Well, whaddya know?" I had my out at last!


could not be more blessed to have 2 girls, let's get that straight

right away. This is not about me wishing for a boy to even things out a

bit at my house. I've taught our dog Buckley how to sit next to me when

a Seahawks game is on (although he has oddly been throwing up right in

front of the TV as of late. I've considered joining him.). No, being a

dad oftentimes means to go beyond oneself. For a parent to two girls,

self-sacrifice is key, especially if one has a shopping phobia such as

me. I've had to 'reach deep inside' and do some serious soul-searching

about my current predicament. Either I start to alienate myself from my

family and become the grumbling grouch in the corner, or, I can join in

and celebrate in the age-old girl pastime...the mall.


girls know what I mean when I say "Hey, let's go to the blah." The

'blah' is my nickname for the mall. Every mall, every place you go

seems to have the exact same stores: Gap, Foot Locker, Williams-Sonoma,

Claire's, Victoria's Secret, etc. It's all 'blah' to me. How in God's

name is going to the same damn stores in every town in this country the

least bit entertaining? Well, to the rest of my family...it is. If you

happen to see me at a mall, please engage me in some sort of

intellectual conversation (fart tennis, anyone?). I slowly die at the

vine at these places. But my girls are happy, so I suppose this is just

part of a husband and father's duty. Fuck! I go less and less these

days. (I am getting REAL good at coming up with some sort of 'band

business' that urgently needs attention!)


guess at this point, I've given you all a fairly good look into my

life-at least as far as where I stand on shopping. Well, now Christmas

is here and I DO try to brave at least a part of a day to go out and

get my wife's present. She starts dropping hints sometime around

Thanksgiving. It is up to me to try and decipher these hints into

something that I can shop for. This year, it was a pair of designer

shoes. "No problem," I thought to myself. A simple and quick in- and

-out of a Macy's and I am home free. Killer!


last Saturday I prepared myself for quick trip to get the shoes. My

oldest daughter asked to go along to help, and I was glad for the

company. When we entered the women's shoe department at Macy's however,

I was met by a scene of a sort of heightened panic one might associate

with the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. I found out quick

that a women's shoe department on a Saturday (and a few weeks shy of

the holidays!) is not a place for the faint of heart, and definitely

not a place for me. There were shoes and boots scattered EVERYWHERE.

The looks on peoples' faces were fierce and SCARY. I had to keep

pulling my daughter out of harm's way. These women at this place were

seemingly completely out of their collective minds! This was not going

to work for me.

Lucky for me, I have a few 'go

to' people that are willing to help when a situation like this arises.

I called my wife's good friend, Nancy, right then and there. I

explained to her the situation and she talked me off the ledge. Nancy

is a seasoned shopper who had some great tips for me. She told me to

just call the store, tell them what you want, give them your credit

card number, and they would hand deliver the item right to my house! I

did just that . And what do you know? It worked just like she said.


My days at the mall are now all but done. Well, at least until after Christmas. Right, girls?
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