A Sharp Stick In The Eye

Image by SidewaysSarah on Flickr
Image by SidewaysSarah on Flickr
My Dad likens shopping with “a sharp stick in the eye,” yet he’d (willingly?maybe?  through coercion of some sort by my mother? perhaps.) accompany my mother, sister and I on various escapades to the mall as we hopefully searched for the perfect Easter or Christmas dress or school clothes. He’d patiently give a thumbs up on the third one out of the dressing room. No matter, we’d still inevitably hit every store looking for something better only to end up purchasing that third dress from the first store. I laughed the day I found him with a piece of mulch hanging out of his eye from the fake planter behind the bench he’d sat waiting for us on.

At the time, I thought he was joking about his aversion to shopping, but I think not. In fact, I can honestly say, I relate to that “sharp-stick-in-the-eye” syndrome. And, furthermore, although some may consider it un-womanly or possibly un-American to admit, but (deep breath) I hate shopping. I really do. It’s not even the spending of money that I detest. I am far from frugal. I can never remember to take coupons with me and comparison shopping is beyond my expertise. I don’t mind spending money. In fact, as many of those charity telemarketers, know I find it hard to say “no” and am free with giving. So free in fact that I really have no idea where a lot of my money goes, which might explain why I often find myself short of said dinero (but that is another post in and of itself).

I digress. So what is it about shopping I hate so much? I think it is the shopping experience that I detest so much. All those people, for one. I can’t stand crowds. Black Friday is a nightmare, I avoid (I’m more of a Cyber Monday kind of gal). Waiting in lines makes me shutter. Even worse is shopping with my kids. Their whining and begging turn me into a mega-b. By the time we’re back in the car headed home, I don’t even like myself. Add to that most stores have the heat turned way too high. If I have to take off my coat (as my sister lovingly knows), I usually take my patience  off with it and we might as well just go home.

My shopping attitude could be the culprit. Maybe if I had a more positive attitude about the whole experience, I’d like it more. I usually start with a good attitude. In my mind’s eye I can see that sweater or the boots or the running shoes I want. I can picture what I want, I can just never find it or if I do it’s the wrong size or too expensive or the wrong color. I either leave empty-handed or with something almost like what I was looking for and in both cases disappointed.

Thus, I’ve turned most of my shopping needs over to the virtual world. Online shopping is my holiday salvation. I am a proud Amazon Prime member (free two-day shipping!!!) My co-workers know when the smiley-face boxes begin to fill my cubicle the Christmas season has begun. Opening those brown boxes never fails to make me smile!

In most cases, I can get most of what I need online. The pictures and reviews are helpful – and I don’t miss the dressing room. Although, I still can’t always find what I want, the disappointment is less when I don’t actually have to leave my bed to shop. Occasionally, I’m disappointed, but at least my head and feet aren’t throbbing at the end of the day.

Anyone else hate shopping, shopping?  Or is it just me?

Forgetful Friday

Humiliation follows me like a hungry, lost puppy. It’s Friday afternoon on the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, black Friday. I am NOT a black Friday shopper. The crowds and lines make my head hurt just thinking about it. I am more of a Cyber Monday kind of gal. Let them deliver the goods to me. But, I digress…Where was I? Oh yes, black Friday.
My husband works swing shift and worked from 7 PM to 7 AM Thanksgiving Day. So I made the rounds with the girls to the various family Thanksgiving feasts by myself. I really didn’t mind. It’s not his fault he had to work and in fact I know he would have rathered made the rounds with us, but still…I’m tired and I just want to veg a little. Which takes me back to black Friday. #1. My husband is sleeping upstairs. #2 He is a light sleeper. #3 He gets angry when people (i.e. two children) make noise and wake him up. #4 He blames me if #3 happens. #5 The kids are getting antsy and getting harder to keep quiet.
So I am forced to take the girls out and about on this most horrible of horrible retail days. I vow not to go into a store and most certainly not into Walmart. We’ll just grab a bite to eat and hang out a bit. Unfortunately one daughter wants McDonald’s and the other Subway. I am really not in the mood. So we compromise. We’ll go through the drive through at McDonald’s and then go to Subway where my oldest daughter and I can get something slightly healthier and all eat together. A brilliant plan.

Now comes the humiliating part…I am in the drive though lane. I’ve ordered the happy meal -a hamburger, no pickles, fries and chocolate milk. But no, they are out of chocolate milk and she has to have root beer instead. The kids are still arguing about something and I try to block them out as I inch ahead in line.

I am finally at the food window. I hand the girl my debit card. She looks at me a little strangely. And asks me, “Did you already pay back there? At the first window?”

I have no recollection. “No, I don’t think so,” I reply. At least I’m honest I think.

“Are you sure?” she asks. “It’s coming up paid. ”

‘That’s weird, I don’t remember stopping at the first window. I’m sorry if I messed up” I tell her.

“No problem,” she continues. She hands my card over to her manager and she runs back to the first window to see what happened. The first girl gives me our order and I pass it on back to the girls and wait to get my card back. I glance back in my rear view mirror. I feel bad I’m holding up the line. As I wait, I notice a piece of white paper lying on top of my open purse sitting between the two front seats. Can guess what it was? You got it, it was a receipt for my happy meal. I knock on the window to get the girl’s attention.

She opens the window. I smile brightly. “I actually did already pay,” I tell her and show her my receipt. She is very gracious. The other woman has just returned and gives me back my card. I am mortified!

And yet I am sharing this story for all the world to read if they so chose. Why? I don’t know. It is kind of funny. And no, I’m not going senile. (At least I hope not). However, when I can’t remember what I did two minutes before, I may need to slow down a little and take time to pay attention to the little things. Now, I just need to put the “slow down,” plan into action, which I will promptly do once, I have some extra time to figure out what that “slow down” plan is.

Do you think Santa would bring a couple of extra hours a day for Christmas?