Friday, February 11, 2011

The Gods of Shopping

I'm not a superstitious person, in general. Walking beneath a ladder doesn't faze me. I love black cats. A broken mirror is bad news, primarily because one of us is likely to get a sliver embedded in our foot (or paw), but it doesn't condition my expectations for the next seven years.

I realized last weekend, though, that there's one area where I definitely believe in beneficent spirits, or divine intervention, or something like that - shopping.

You have to understand, first, that I'm a third-generation bargain hunter. I was trained by my maternal grandmother, who started bringing me to the original Filene's Basement when I was seven or eight. I almost never buy anything for myself that's full price. Shopping's just no fun for me unless I manage at least a 20% discount.

The other thing you need to know is that I'm not easy to satisfy. I don't have a lot of cash, so I'm picky. I'm always seeking a pair of shoes or a dress or a purse that's going to have a wide range of uses. Shoes are a particular problem. I've got the world's flattest feet, quite bizarrely shaped, so it's really tough to find shoes that are comfortable and attractive.

For some reason, when I go shopping, I have this sense that I'm being divinely guided. I expect to be led to the stores where they're having clearance sales. If I don't find what I'm looking for in one location, I view this as an indication that a better option is waiting for me somewhere else.

I really noticed this last Saturday. I had a $20 gift certificate for a particular mall, and I was determined to use it before it expired (or I lost track of where I'd put it LOL!) The first store I visited had lots of merchandise marked down, by as much as 50%. My spirits rose, especially when I found a skirt that was exactly what I need for work, with plenty of pockets for my phone, keys and ID card. Full of excitement, I headed to try it on, sure that the gods of shopping had led me to the ideal purchase. Alas, the skirt was too tight for me, more because of the narrow cut than because it wasn't my size. Reluctantly I put it back on the rack. I knew that something better awaited me.

At the next store, I began looking for a new pair of semi-dressy sandals. (I live in the tropics, so I hardly ever wear actual shoes.)

Once again, lots of brands were on sale. I checked out at least a dozen pairs, trying to decide if they were comfortable enough, not to mention cheap enough, after applying the gift card. Did I want to spend $30? But then, those shoes were originally over $100, marked down to $50 ... a good deal, yes? Still, they didn't feel as good as I'd really like. That strap - the way it was rubbing, it was sure to give me a blister. And those heels looked fabulous, but honestly, they were too high...

I spent more than an hour, considering just about every discounted pair of sandals that was my size. I was starting to get frustrated. I really wanted to use the voucher that day - I don't get the chance to shop all that often.

I found myself making a silent prayer to the gods of shopping. Don't let this whole afternoon be for nothing!

All at once, I saw them, the shoes I was meant to buy! Comfortable. Versatile. Deeply discounted from their original price. And after the application of the gift certificate, only about $4!

I bought them in a flash and traveled home, grinning and chiding myself for having so little faith!

By the way... I'm participating in Whipped Cream's Valentine's Blog-a-thon. Along with lots of other great authors, I'll be blogging at Whipped Cream and the Goddess Fish Party Pavilion tomorrow, February 12th. Every comment enters you to win great prizes, including a Nook e-reader! Plus I running my own contest. Come on by and join in the fun!

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