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The Shopaholic Beaver A Geek...s Search for Beauty

By Elizabeth Zakszewski
STAFF COLUMNIST

As a confessed shopaholic, I enjoy taking the occasional trip to the Cambridgeside Galleria. I know a lot of people who feel the same way, some who even make the trip a weekly excursion. And as a geek, I usually find shopping there a worthwhile effort.

There’s Best Buy, which covers movies, video games, and enough sexy gadgets (computers, cameras, etc.) to keep you ogling for some time. To expand your mind in a more literary fashion, go to Border’s, right on the second floor. There’s a good collection of specialty electronics stores on the first floor, too: Radioshack, Suncoast, Brookstone, Iris, that place that sells Creative Zen players, and the Apple store. I’m not really an iPod girl, but I hear the salesmen at the store are really hot, so it’s even possible to ogle non-electronic things too. Yup, the Galleria is a trusted place to find gifts for your fellow beavers, and, if your shopping willpower is weak, for yourself as well.

Then just last week I was presented with a shopping challenge: my good friend needed to find a dress for a wedding. Like visiting the bathroom, dress shopping is best attempted in groups, so she asked me to join her. With our limited time, we had to choose carefully where to go. Back when I lived on West Campus, I knew girls who had successfully found dresses (for these things they have called “semi-formals”) at Filene’s Basement. If my friend and I couldn’t find a dress there, though, it would end our trip pretty quickly, since I didn’t know of any other (reasonably priced) stores in Downtown Crossing. And since there’s the whole second and third floors of the Galleria with clothing stores, we went there thinking the odds would be better.

Boy, were we ever wrong. First, we tried Sears, and after wandering aimlessly we asked a clerk where the dress department was. “Oh, we don’t sell formal dresses,” she said, scoffing at our ignorance. A department store without dresses, what a world we live in! At Filene’s we found the right department, which consisted of a whopping four racks of dresses. For the males (or non-shopping women) in the audience, let me explain that four racks present very poor odds of finding an appropriate dress, especially for a woman with a non-Twiggy figure. On top of that, approximately half of the dresses were black, and my poor friend didn’t think that would be the best color to wear to a wedding.

We then tried every women’s clothing store at the Galleria (and there weren’t terribly many), but none of them sold evening dresses. We saw little cocktail numbers with exorbitant price tags, separates, and a number of other strange items that apparently lie in the realm of “fashion.”

All in all, only one dress was tried. I learned several things during my shopping research: 1.) There is a 75 percent off sale of winter clothes at Sears right now. My friend got a really nice formal wrap that would look great over her non-existent dress. There was an unorthodoxly good women’s selection for a clearance sale. 2.) If you need a skanky T-shirt (why I needed one is a whole ’nother story I’m not gonna get into), you can’t go wrong with Wet Seal. 3.) If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being a poor beaver who needs to doll herself up in a dress, don’t go to the Galleria.