On the rainy weekend a few weeks ago I indulged in some retail therapy — shopping. A rainy weekend with nothing to do seemed the perfect occasion to shop. I don’t know many women who dislike shopping, especially if they can score a bargain.
The stores that list on your receipt the amount of money you saved are on to something. I know they are still making a healthy profit, but I love to come home and gloat about the money I have saved. Again I know that is illogical as I have spent money, not put it in the bank. But it is a thrill.
It must be in our genes, somehow remaining with us from the hunter-gatherer period of human history. Women went out and scored vegetables and fruits to feed their families and came home victorious. Now we score bargains, sometimes for our families and sometimes for ourselves.
I don’t usually go shopping alone. I usually go either with a friend or with my sister and sometimes with one or the other of my daughters and their children.
They all have different shopping styles. My sister is very single-minded and discriminating about shopping. She is looking for specific things. She brings with her a tape measure and any other thing necessary to make sure she gets the exact thing she is looking for. She measures in-seams on pants, the height of tables or width of lamp shades. She compares the relative tones of navy. We look at every store around that would carry whatever she is looking for and then usually go back to the first one to purchase whatever she wants. She often goes home empty-handed, while I, who had nothing to shop for to begin with, end up purchasing any number of things I found interesting while she studied and measured.
When she decided she wanted a new sofa and love seat, we visited every store in a 40-mile radius of Covington, a 50-mile radius of her home town and several places in Atlanta. Nothing satisfied her. She knew she wanted flowers and a blue background. She also wanted a specific floor to seat measurement and depth of seat measurement. She is short and wanted to make sure her feet comfortably reached the floor and that when she sat, she would not have to lean back to reach the back cushions.
We finally made the trek to North Carolina and spent several days in the huge furniture warehouses in Highpoint and Hickory. She made a decision and bought a sofa, chair and love seat. It took several months for the factory to make her furniture in the fabric she picked out and then deliver it to her.
She called me the day they arrived and said she didn’t like the fabric on the sofa and love seat. She liked the chair (It was solid brick red). I said live with it a while and it will grow on you. It hasn’t. She is back looking for sofas or at least fabric to recover them. I’m not sure I want to be a part of the second search. But if she calls, I’ll answer.
The friend I shop with is the exact opposite. She likes everything she sees and she looks everywhere. I have seen her in a dressing room with clothes piled up knee deep. When she is in a hurry, she just lumps everything she likes together, pays for them and then takes them home to try on. What she doesn’t like she brings back. I know she has more clothes than I have closet space, which isn’t saying much. I don’t have closets; my clothes reside in a wardrobe.
Going shopping with daughters and granddaughters is tricky. You have to please the children and the mothers, and their tastes often differ. I usually side with the children. At my age I like lots of color, the brighter the better. My grandchildren’s tastes usually coincide with mine with one exception. They want peace signs on everything. But that fad will soon pass.
My daughters, on the other hand, are very conservative. If it’s khaki, black or white, they wear it.
Now men shopping or shopping with men is a whole different ball game. Don’t let me get started on my husband’s shopping strategies — or lack thereof.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org