"But...the BRA Jeanie!!!! The BRA!!!!" lamented Debby (quite rightly)
Yes, indeed, I did eventually get to the emporium of shopping splendours (getting there from here and then here).
Big Smoke is a little city with BIG pretensions. You can walk into the city centre across bridges that span the river, you can marvel at the prolificity of electric scooters (yes, I know - I thought I had just made it up too!), you can gasp at the ever developing high-rise - and then you can get SMACKED in the face by commerce.
One of the oldest cash extraction businesses in the Queen Street Mall is Myer - it is heroically battling against the threat of online shopping by producing up to four glossy catalogs of specials at any one time, and from the aggressive spray pitch of the perfumiers on entry through the snooty disdain of the purveyors of purses to the racks and racks of back-racking stilettos, it is all about getting the whole merchandising experience.
Readers, I am weak - not for spending, but for oxygen in such environments, and after a mad dash through the three levels of shopping opportunities I was heartily glad of the friendly face of the escalator usher who gave me the stack and suggested I peruse them elsewhere and come back with a plan of attack.
Luckily one of the great leaps forward in the last 30 years has been the proximity of food courts to shopping experiences, and there was a stall that offered Miso Soup (a way of life lifeline when fasting) and a hidden nook where I could look at a green (of the plant kind) wall and pretend I wasn't in the middle of chaos.
The first glossy brochure offered lifestyles, and with a starting price about 6 times the figure of my voucher it was readily discarded.
The second was offered food preparation wonders -and even with up to 40% off, I would have had to eat the brochure to get any benefit.
The third was beauty products, and if there is one thing that I a frugal on, its self-care. I think that there was next to no overlap between my willingness to part with currency and their willingness to part with product in that equation.
The fourth did offer the line that their were specials galore to be had in the cash and frippery carrying department.
From the title of this (and the last two) episodes, we know I was in the market for lingerie, but my need for a handbag and/or wallet is up there vying hard too. The last three handbags I have received have been from Queen Jeanie next door, as apparently I am completely incapable of looking at a handbag and thinking "that looks nice" - something that relatives of hers are really good at, so she always has an over-(to her mind)abundance. I also have issues with the feelings of wallets that cost more than they are ever going to be required to carry, so the possibility of their being a choice that MIGHT offer something in my range AND marked down enough that I don't have to consider its sensitivities was a possibility.
I also regarded the map and contemplated exit routes so if I were overwhelmed again, I could get out of Dodge.
Plan of attack formed, I re-entered the domain at the door closest too the bag section - and I perused and did the maths of 20% off this or 33% off that for a good twenty minutes before I admitted 100% defeat. The good news is that the attendants for this area had done their maths much quicker and worked out I was not a valid customer and didn't bother to harass me.
Luckily it was only escalator ride and a hard left to the bra section after that and the escalator usher gave me reassurance on my way.
I have to thank the deity of the bra section that a young assistant was on that day who, seeing my look of confusion and threat of tears, took me in hand.
Remember the dragon who was your first ever bra fitter who insisted on snapping the elastic and reefing the support straps?
Apparently someone has taught a new generation of persuaders. She was kind and considerate. She didn't AUDIBLY gasp when she saw my "good" bra (although she couldn't stop the shudder) and she sized up my requirements and inability to spend big.
She knew from my demeanour that my threshold was one, so she bought me one bra to try - and it fit, and it jiggled into place (following her directions - did you know the jiggle forward, slide sides in, jiggle up routine? I learned).
She worked out a discount that I could apply for that would bring my bra purchase under the gift card budget - and did not demur when I suggested that the remainder all go towards the charity of choice they are forced to beg for at transaction time.
And there it was. My free bra. Only costing me a whole day and several hundred dollars, but the best darned thing of the whole experience.