Westfield shopping centre may be the eighth circle of hell, but the deadliest despair must surely reside in the interminable queue for Gilly Hicks, that altar to teenage girls' fashion, notably lingerie and sleepwear.
Simon Kelner wrote before Christmas of his terrifying experience trying to buy his niece an Abercrombie & Fitch gift voucher in what is essentially a nightclub. Gilly Hicks is, if anything, worse - not least because it's for girls only, and much of the stock is underwear. It's no place for dads.
If the buff door guy in shorts and a six-pack being photographed with giggling girls who could be your daughter isn't bad enough, the legions of effervescent, glossy, thin young shop assistants will send dads scuttling to the storefront armchairs.
Girls shop so differently. They delight in their intense friendships, piling into changing rooms in pairs, trying clothes on for each other. They take as much as possible in with them, in multiple sizes. Boys take the one item they are being forced to buy in the correct size – and even then, under duress.
Whoever said the British aren't tactile never hung out with teenage girls. Every triumph ("they have my size", "it's cheaper than my voucher") is met with shrieks and hugs – every disaster too ("Alice/Jess/Sophie has that, I can't buy it, wah!").
Boys? They just grunt at each other as they shovel down their Byron burgers (I had my first yesterday – it was lush!).
Tomorrow? We have to go back to actually buy stuff. Yesterday was just a recce! We also have to go at dawn to get a parking space. Recession? What recession?