Fun (kind of): The Necessity of Shopping


For years, I was a robotic shopper. My two sons were 18 months apart in age. I knew exactly where to go for diapers, wipes, Veg-all (yuck) and all the necessities life demanded at that time. It was a routine that wasn’t taxing psychologically and that’s a good thing when you’re trying to keep tabs on two little ones, accomplish your task and not lose anyone in the process.

And then they grew. They started to care about what they wore and voiced their opinions. Since I had the checkbook (if you don’t know what that is you are too young to read this blog!) I cast the winning vote. I did consider the comments.

A few years passed and then my husband and I provided a clothing allowance. Within the agreed upon conditions of clothing style appropriateness, I was no longer hostage on retail hunting expeditions. I just handed over the dough, awaited a receipt and sang hallelujah.

Now those two are in college, buy their own underwear (oops, too much information) and are making their own way in life. I would have let them choose my way but I already took it so it’s a good thing they’re creative.

So today, when I found myself in a local clothing store, I was lost. All the automaticity I had developed during the last 20 years is worthless! I found myself actually looking at the store signage. Boys 4-7. Don’t need that. Infants. Ditto. Womens. If I HAVE to.

The goal: jeans and shapewear. For those of you who don’t know what THAT is, you are too old to read this blog. Think updated girdle and on you’re on the right track. I came armed with my newspaper flyers, scratch-off cards and coupons. Heck, they’d even deduct at least 15 percent of my total purchase if I put it on my store card. YIPPEE.

I amazed myself, honestly. I jostled my way within reach of the clearance clothing and with precision I paused at each denim item – first checking the size and then the price. Pass or Play? I’d decide and move on. By the time I made it through the racks I had 15 garments hanging over my right arm. I could have used a store buggy but that would have been too hard. I would have had to think about getting it and then actually retrieve it.

I was relieved to see that the Trying on Room Dictator was not present to count my clothing items. I quickly snagged a room, hung my purse and began the clothing parade. Most of the items were voted “off the island” and banished back to their racks but I did find the jeans, the shapewear  I needed (and I won’t get too specific here) and even a new black blazer to replace my other. I even shocked myself by purchasing a pair of pants that were too small. Not too, too small, mind you, but a few more pounds away small. I called it incentive. It didn’t hurt that it was 80 percent off.

In case you’re wondering, I did re-hang the rejects and put them on the provided rack before heading to check out where I almost died from amazement. No lines and no waiting. The nice cashier patiently smiled while I narrated. “These are 50 percent off. Can do you a price check on those? I’ll keep them. Thank you.” And on it went. She hit the total button, I handed her my charge card and another $25 came off. I may not be an extreme couponista but I know good prices when I see them.

The thing that ruined the whole successful experience for me though was when the nice cashier (who shall not be named because I didn’t read her name tag) announced quite loudly that I had SAVED $195 and only SPENT $125.

“Dang,” I thought to myself. “You mean I could have paid $320 for all those items and NOT saved a thing? What’s wrong with me?”


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