Shopping has been one of my favorite pastimes since, well probably since I learned how to say, “Charge it”. Whether my shopping trips involved clear deliberate goals or simply hours of care-free browsing I enjoyed every one of them. Unfortunately, the delight that once consumed me after stumbling upon those, “I couldn’t afford NOT to buy it” deals has diminished in past years. Shopping, it seems, has lost some of its appeal.
I realize that such an attitude toward shopping might seem almost blasphemous to some of you, after all, I question my negative attitude toward shopping too. Is it because I am getting older and sales clerks direct me away from designers with first names like Ralph, Liz and Vera whose fashion screams “juicy couture” and toward a designer with the first name of Alfred whose fashion screams, “built-in girdle”? Whatever it was bothered me. Last weekend I had an opportunity to evaluate why shopping no longer ranked in the top 3 of my most favorite activities.
My husband appeared a bit confused when I told him I needed a plain white blouse, particularly when he escorted me to our bedroom and pointed out to me the section of white blouses currently hanging in my closet. “You see, honey” I informed him. “This blouse has three-quarter sleeves and I need a blouse that has the full length sleeve”. He pointed to another blouse, “No, that blouse has a black design on the collar”. Pointing to another blouse, “No, dear that blouse has a sailor collar. No, that one is a mock neck collar”. Finally he holds up the last blouse and says, “And this one?” “Good Lord, Bob, can’t you tell that’s off-white”. He simply shrugged his shoulders and tossed me the car keys.
Much to my delight, I found the exact blouse in the very first store I walked into. It was even 20% off. Ah, it felt like the good ole days again. I headed toward the counter to purchase my blouse when the joy and excitement that once filled me quickly vanished. A bit dazed by the sudden drop in emotion, I handed my blouse to the cashier who said, “Did you find what you were looking for?” Still a bit confused I answered, “Yes, I did, exactly what I needed, thank-you”. The clerk responded in a tone that contained entirely too much enthusiasm as somewhat manically, she exclaimed, “Oh super, that’s just super great and awesome, you know. I am totally excited for you, ma’am. Just super great.”
As I stood there listening to the clerk go on and on about how excited she was that I found a plain white blouse I had all I could do to refrain from saying something like, “Good grief, lady, I found a white blouse, not the cure for cancer. Could you take it down a notch or two?” My thoughts were interrupted by the clerk who began a series of questions that resembled more of a police interrogation than a retail transaction. “Phone number with area code first, please? Home and email address please?” And the line of questioning continued.
By the time I finally paid for my item I had completely forgotten what I purchased. But I learned an invaluable lesson that day – Shopping is something I still thoroughly enjoy, it’s being held hostage at the counter that sucks the life right out of me.