Suggested wine for today’s entry: Here’s one of my notes from girl’s night out last Friday — we all enjoyed the Banfi Le Rime, a blend of chardonnay and pinot grigio, from Tuscany. It was described as “light, dry, crisp with some pear, apple and peach,” and we found it to have a nice touch of acidity. Very inexpensive and perfect for toasting to a successful shopping day!
I have never liked browsing in stores. I also don’t like crowds, parking lots, traffic or carrying things. Oh, and the sound of bells. I’m starting to hate those too.
At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, I will stipulate right up front that I love Christmas. I just hate Christmas shopping.
The problem is, I am used to running into a store, grabbing exactly what I need, which is generally a replacement pair of jeans in the same style and size that I bought in the same store six months ago. Or a black sweater. Or a jacket — any jacket. So, as you can see, I generally go to one store, one department, one time. If they don’t have exactly what I’m looking for, I just buy something else. Done.
But when you’re buying a gift, you have to get something that they either 1)asked for; 2)are seriously lacking; or 3)can return easily.
Thank goodness that I have embraced the value of option number 3.
Otherwise, I’d be one of those people who you see standing there with shopping bags lined up their arms, their purse dumping out on the floor, holding up an ugly lavender sweater in one hand and an ugly brown sweater in the other.
They’ll hold one higher for a second, tilt their head, stare at it, then lower it and raise the other one, tilt head the other way, squint, bite their lip …
Really? It’s that hard? What are you thinking about? Well, she looks lovely in lavender and it’s oh-so-feminine and she could probably wear it well into the spring, what with it being a pastel and all, and if it’s $30 and I have the 20% off coupon, which would make it, ummm… let’s see, if 10% is, uh, … yeah, if 10% is … Oh, I don’t know. The brown one will look better with those manly khakis she always wears. And the color matches her roots when she waits too long between appointments. It’s also built a little bigger, just in case that weight comes creeping back. But it’s $40 and my coupon doesn’t work on this brand, well, wait, maybe it does, but I can’t get it out right now because I have all these damn bags hanging off my arms and oh, crap, I just dropped a tampon out of my purse. Did anyone see? I can’t feel my left hand. This stuff is heavy. You know, screw it. She’s gonna just have to keep her stupid weight off — I’m getting the $30 one. Wait! Which one was the $30 one? If I can j-u-s-t turn the tag around with my mouth, there … no, no, don’t flip back around til I read you, you stupid tag…
Why do they do that to themselves? And do they do it with every gift? Yikes.
Here are my shopping tips:
1) If you have to mail it, it must be smaller than a pack of cards. Actually, a pack of cards makes an excellent gift. They travel exceptionally well, and who doesn’t like cards? I mean, you can play poker, blackjack, Go Fish …
2) If someone asks for a sweater, get a really obscure color. That way they probably don’t already have it. Like get a guy a pink sweater. It’ll drive him crazy, wondering what made you think to get him a pink sweater. It’ll give him warmth and mental stimulation for the whole day. Or if someone is say, fair complexioned and looks washed out in yellow, give them a yellow sweater and a tube of self-tanner. Theme gift.
3) Never buy anything that doesn’t come in a box. Wrapping presents sucks enough without trying to wedge an unwieldly candleabra into a too-small gift bag.
4) Shop with a friend. Share a little pre-game festivity before shopping (like tailgating in the mall parking lot); it makes the whole process more pleasant. It does, however, make it more difficult to calculate anticipated coupon savings, but you tend to care less about the final cost. Also, it gives you a goal of finishing before your buzz wears off. Reward yourself with a little refresher at the hot dog place that serves beer in the food court. N-i-c-e. Now there’s the spirit!
5) If someone butts in front of you, you are allowed to retaliate. Say you’re in the line at Macy’s — and, trust me, during their one-day sale that I happened to stumble into yesterday, someone will most certainly butt in front of you — you are allowed to retaliate. I just looked the other way and kicked the wheel of her walker and she trotted off a little to the left, and while she was recovering her balance I reclaimed my rightful place in the queue. Some people have a lot of nerve!
6) Never shop hungry. I don’t know why they put stupid Godiva chocolates by the checkout in the sock department; except for the soft “o” sound, the two hardly seem related. But there they are, and I figure if they can lure me, they can lure anybody. I hate chocolate.
7) If you don’t want to juggle all your bags while digging through your purse for the necessities, put these items in your pocket: Your keys, your phone and about twenty one-dollar bills, folded into skinny wedges that will fit into the red bucket. That is, unless you want those bells to haunt you all day.
8) If you find yourself getting tired and despondent, mess with someone’s head. It’s a sure pick-me-up. My favorite is to go out into the packed parking lot, start up one aisle with your keys out and wait until someone starts to follow you slowly because they want to get your spot. Then immediately cut across to another aisle. Wait for them to whip around the corner, way too fast, lest they lose their claim on you. Then drop your keys, pick ’em up slowly, stop and answer your phone, … then cut through to the aisle where your car really is. Listen for them to screech around the corner, then open your trunk and, one by one, put your bags in. Then stride purposefully back into the store. This is important: Remember to re-lock your car.
I hope I’ve been helpful. Happy shopping!