17 Vaguely Interesting Things I Look At While My Girlfriend Is Shopping

And how long each keeps me occupied.

1. Scented Candles

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Kudos to the candle scientists, because scented candles these days are amazing. A shelf full of Iced Mango Brown Sugar Cookie candles can keep me occupied for quite a while. Look for candles without a label on top so you can sniff them and try to guess the scent!

How long it keeps me occupied: 2–3 minutes

Best game to play: What’s That Scent?

2. Soft Things

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Feeling soft things is always a pleasant experience, and one thing I learned shopping with my girlfriend is there are degrees of softness. Which is softest?? Only one way to find out.

How long it will keep me occupied: 30 seconds–1 minute

Best game to play: Can I Discreetly Put My Face on This?

3. Books With GIant Holes in Them

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

One popular thing at Anthropologie right now is a book cut up so the story is unreadable. It’s an excellent test of your interpolation skills to try to read these.

How long it keeps me occupied: Depends on the story.

Best game to play: What’s Probably in the Middle Paragraph?

4. Indiana Jones Goblet Set

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When I find assorted goblets, I re-create the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — I simply display the goblets in a long row and wait for a shopper to choose one. Then I tell the shopper if he/she chose poorly or wisely.

How long it keeps me occupied: Depends on the other shoppers.

Best game to play: The Indiana Jones Holy Grail Game

5. Coasters and Other Stackable Things

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

It’s fun to try to stack and pick up a bunch of coasters.

How long it keeps me occupied: 30 seconds max

Best game to play: How Many Coasters Can I Hold? (8)

6. Reflective Spoons

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

These are cool because I always liked the work of M.C. Escher and it’s fun to re-create some of his famous illustrations.

How long it keeps me occupied: 20 seconds.

Best game to play: From Which Angle Is My Reflection Funniest?

7. Giant Metal Letters

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

The main thing here is picking up the letter and determining what function this metal object might serve you other than decoration. The letter J would make a great little mallet.

How long it keeps me occupied: 3–4 minutes

Best game to play: Intruder! (Which Letters Do You Grab to Defend Yourself?)

8. These Ancient Alien Artifacts

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

I like to pick up things because in each store you always want to find out “what’s the thing in the store I could throw the furthest?” I could probably throw this thing from center field to home plate if I needed to.

How long it keeps me occupied: 10 seconds.

Best game to play: Is This an Ancient Alien Artifact? (It is.)

9. Kid-Sized Things

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

One thing I noticed is that smaller versions of regular things are very in. These backpacks at Madewell are so adorable! I would use it for a dedicated sandwich backpack.

How long it keeps me occupied: 2 minutes

Best game to play: Find All the Pockets!

10. A Magnifying Glass

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

If you pick up a magnifying glass and walk around the store, it’s like an entirely new store where everything is bigger.

How long it keeps me occupied: 20 seconds.

Best game to play: Lookin’ for Clues

11. Display Rocks

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

In each store, there are usually some display rocks or beads. These are fun to pick up or bury your hand in (like that one scene in Amelie). This particular kind looks like Nerds but sadly aren’t.

How long it keeps me occupied: 20–30 seconds

Best game to play: Arrange the Display Rocks by Size!

12. Metal Bracelets

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfield.com

One rule about bracelets I learned recently is that it is acceptable to wear multiple bracelets on one wrist, so that helps explain why there are so many bracelets here.

How long it keeps me occupied: 30–60 seconds

Best game to play: Which Bracelet Will Offer the Most Protection in a Medieval Battle?

13. Belts!

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Turns out belts can be pretty complicated — some of these are just like some kind of rope, I think. This is like a crazy puzzle that doesn’t come with directions.

How long it keeps me occupied: 1–2 minutes

Best game to play How Would I Get This to Hold Up My Pants?

14. Multilingual Labeled Things

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Why not learn a bit of French while you are waiting? There are at least six French words on this bottle! And since we were both wondering, “shampoo” has Hindi/Urdu roots according to Merriam-Webster.

How long it keeps me occupied: 2–3 minutes

Best game to play: Cover the English Words and Guess What This Is!

15. Soap

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

Tried to play the Guess the Scent game with the soap too, but all of my guesses ended being “some kind of soap.”

How long it keeps me occupied: 20–30 seconds

Best game to play: Soap Commercial Auditions

16. Things That Maybe Aren’t for Sale

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

So it’s pretty hard to guess what is and isn’t for sale these days! Many stores feature displays with props that are just meant for show. You don’t know if they’re for sale until you flip them over and look for a price tag!

How long it keeps me occupied: 2–3 minutes

Best game to play: Is This Thing for Sale??

17. Adorable Handles and Knobs

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

There’s a fascinating array of handles and knobs at Anthropologie, and judging them on the Structural Integrity Vs. Cuteness matrix can take quite a bit of time!

How long it keeps me occupied: 2–3 minutes

Best game to play: Owls vs. Foxes! Battle Royale

TOTAL OCCUPATION TIME: Roughly 23 minutes

What’s your best tip for staying occupied? Let me know in the comments!

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