The Ghost of Walmart

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My sailor and I went to the mall on the weekend. Normally I have to twist his toned and muscular arm to get him near any shopping venue, but he needed to get some man stuff–duct tape and batteries–so he suggested the trip.

As usual when we go shopping together, I ditched him as soon I arrived in my happy place (the mall!) It’s not that I don’t enjoy our time together–he lurks.

He follows me from shop to shop, silently observing. He’s doesn’t judge or try to control my spending (although he has been known to exclaim, “Seriously? Another purse? How many do you need?”)

Nothing takes the fun out of shopping like a lurker…nothing except being on strike.

The stores were buzzing with back to school sales and school supplies–they were everywhere! I don’t know who’s buying them as there’s still no word on when we’ll be back in class. I haven’t bought my boy’s because a stack of unused supplies in a corner collecting dust and dog hair will just depress me.

Since school supply shopping was out I drifted to the clothing and shoe stores. Big mistake! After a summer in swingy little dresses, I’m ready for cozy sweaters and socks and boots–I love me some black leather riding boots!

But not having an income changes the shopping dynamic profoundly. I was like a TV ghost–I could see the shopping action but couldn’t participate in it because I’m not in the zone with the people who get paid. It was so unsettling, I stayed away from mirrors, half afraid I wouldn’t see a reflection.

I’m luckier than many because I know we’ll have food in our tummies and a roof over our Chihuahua no matter how long this drags on.

I believe in what we’re striking for and I support my union.

I’m taking a huge financial hit to stand up for quality public education for ALL kids, not just mine.

That actually feels better than another new purse.

35 Shopping Days to Christmas!

003011I spent a relaxing afternoon at the mall this weekend. In the absence of hobbies, going to the mall is how I unwind. I love my time there and I’ve never had a bad experience while shopping (well, except for the time I caught my finger in a fitting room door–ouch!)

You’d think Christmas was next week with all the decorations and the crowds scurrying about. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but frankly I get a bit tired of the trees, lights and holly once it’s been up over a month. (Mistletoe is a different kettle of fish. If my sailor was home, I’d happily hang mistletoe over every doorway in the house and leave it there until it wilted.)

In keeping with my recent vow of austerity, I was very frugal. I got a couple of books at Chapters. (I haven’t visited a library since I read about a woman who found LIVE bedbugs in a library book.) I picked up a stylish fleece jacket for the dog at Winners. It’s soft and cozy and . . . blue. I could admit they were all out of anything pink in her size and her sweaters are getting a bit thread bare, but my story is that dressing my girl dog in blue fleece indicates I don’t support gender stereotypes.

I also stopped at Danier. I have handbag issues (I can’t resist buying them) and Danier has beautiful leather purses at reasonable prices. If that isn’t enough, they have amazing sales–all the time. With a closet full of black bags, I craved colour.

Danier also has exceedingly patient sales associates and a wonderful exchange policy.

I know this because I tested their tolerance over the past couple of weeks. First I bought a structured brown bag. Upon consideration, I realized I prefer something softer and squishier. Back it went–exchanged for a burnt orange pebbled leather bag. Although I wanted colour, the bright pumpkin was a little too much for me. Back it went–exchanged for a black satchel with snazzy gold chain handles. I took it home and realized how many black bags I already have. Back it went–exchanged for a plain camel handbag with a shoulder strap for when I need both hands free to scoop up a litter of fluffy puppies or to help someone frail cross the street.

I’m definitely going to keep this one . . . absolutely . . . I think.

Shop My Closet

005It’s not secret that I love to shop. Spending a day roaming through the mall is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t always buy things. It’s just fun to look.

Of course, you’re more likely to find that irresistible _______ (insert appropriate noun: dress, shoes, jeans, top, purse, sweater, other) if you spend all your free time shopping.

Once said special item has been located, it’s almost impossible to walk away without it. After all, you might never find something as _______ (insert appropriate adjective: cute, flattering, comfortable, slimming, unique, other) again. You’d be a fool to walk away from it, even if you already have three to five similar items at home.

I’m resolving to shop my closet until my sailor returns. We have big plans for our future which include a university education for our brilliant boy, a boat for our brilliant sailor and a trip or three back to Paris for our brilliant blogger. It’s time to look ahead to the big picture instead of falling for the instant gratification of whatever catches my eye at the mall (or lately, online.)

This will be easier said than done as nothing fills the big sailor-shaped void in my life like something pretty and new, but I will do my best to limit shopping for stuff I don’t need.

Things I will continue to buy without guilt:
1. Books (did you hear about the woman who discovered live bedbugs in a library book???–ewww!)
2. Skin care items (yes, I splurge on Clarins, but skin is actually a vital organ so this technically counts as health care.)
3. Salon visits (I have challenging Ukrainian wavy hair–thanks, Dad!–that needs serious TLC from highly trained professionals!)
4. The occasional latte while I’m on the go (life is tough and everyone needs a little treat now and then–this is mine. I’ve already switched to wine from a box. I can’t give up my Starbucks fix.)