I love to shop. It’s pretty undeniable. It’s not that I enjoy spending a ton of money. On the contrary, my favorite shopping moments come when I find something for super cheap. For instance, every time someone compliments my “Sgt. Pepper” coat, I have to tell the story of how I got a really good deal on it at when my friend Kent and I were shopping at Macy’s right before Christmas.
Usually after that, if my friends know Mr. & Mrs. W, who got married last month, I tell them, “I got a really good deal on my dress for the W’s wedding too!”
I don’t mind looking around for deals. I can’t tell you that I never pay full price, and if it’s something I really want, and I can afford it, I will pay. But I think half the draw of hunting for the deals is the ability to walk around a store and look, and compare, and think about what it would look like on me.
Earlier today I tried to figure out where my love of shopping and stores came from. I certainly did not get it from my mother. I didn’t really enjoy shopping when I was growing up, because my mom would always try to make the trips quick, and avoid any crowds. Shopping was torture for her.
I always knew we were going to the mall because Mom would wake us up super early on a Saturday and declare that she wanted to beat the rush, so we needed to get dressed. We’d always go to Green Acres because it was closer. I always wanted to go to Roosevelt Field, with its better selection of stores, and the Baskin Robbins in the section that had all the Tudor-looking stores. It was prettier and bigger and better. But no, Green Acres it was. Always.
My mom’s over-enthusiasm to get in and out as quick as possible would usually get us to the doors at Stern’s a good 15 minutes before opening. We were always the first ones in, storming the doors like it was Black Friday, only it was not the Christmas season.
After a whirlwind tour of Stern’s, JC Penney’s and Sears (Macy’s if we were lucky, but they were kind of expensive) we’d head out to Alexander’s across the parking lot. I heard Steve Buschemi used to work there. I wouldn’t know if I ever met him though, because we were whisked from rack to rack with such speed that people’s faces became a blur.
The mall opened around 9-ish. We’d be headed back up Central Ave. by 11. My mom hated shopping.
She did like seeing me try on my clothes though. When I got old enough to go shopping (at Roosevelt Field!) by myself, I’d come home with bags, and she’d “yea” or “nay” every outfit. The “nay”s usually went back. I think the memory of showing off my finds is part of why I enjoy shopping so much.
Another part is the fact that I can be alone, immersed in my thoughts. This happens everywhere I shop, even the grocery store. But I don’t even have to be shopping to enjoy that kind of “me” time. I could be sitting in the Starbucks in Lynbrook, sipping black coffee and blogging about shopping, which may or may not be happening right now (ok, ok, it definitely is happening).
But those things are secondary. I think I put my finger on it the day I bought my coat. It was a Sunday evening. That morning Robert our pastor said that God has the ability to talk to us in a language only we can understand. After the amazing deal I got, I jokingly said that God must speak to me in bargains.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s really not a joke. When I get something at a value, it almost feels like a little love note, like God’s up there saying, “I’m taking care of you, kid! It seems trivial, but your happiness, and your wallet, are both important to me.” It stands to reason, then, that if God cares about such little trivial things, He cares about the big things too.