It is Labor Day Weekend, and there is a stack of flyers, post cards, marketing magazines and one GIGANTIC Restoration Hardware catalogue, that I swear must weigh five pounds, on my kitchen counter, all existing for one immutable fact: to entice me to spend money.
And somewhere inside my brain and heart and pocketbook is a commercial transaction waiting to happen. We went out to dinner last night. We shared the Chicken Costelleto at the Cheesecake Factory, not because we wanted to save money, but rather the dish is so immense no one person, which is to say no one person who doesn’t weigh over 250 lbs, can eat it in one sitting, and your car is not the best doggy bag storage container if you live in Africa-hot Florida. Can you say “food poisoning?”
So we went to Barnes and Noble, our destination of choice after any meal. Husband headed to the music, and I made my normal first stop at the magazines. If I have a coupon, I’ll buy one, but mostly I walk the aisles writing down titles and authors for future Kindle downloads. I am a Kindle Girl on steroids, and have already lost the capacity to hold a normal book in my hands. What drudgery having to hold those pages apart. How 20th century.
But really this blog is about what happened when we left the bookstore, empty-handed, and were walking back to the car. I was struck by the number of happy faces on others heading back to their cars, the only difference being their arms were laden with pretty bags all stuffed with….stuff, with lots of colorful tissue paper escaping out the tops. One woman must have had ten bags, strung up her arms and bundled around her fingers. Some of the bags were big. Some were small. But they were all lovely to look at, and I can only imagine the fun she must have had when she got home and unwrapped them over a glass of wine.
I remember those days; the days of discretionary spending. As a young woman I made it a point to buy a new outfit every single month. I’ve never been a shoe freak, but I learned early on “fashion economics”: tailored dark skirts, white blouses, and $100 scarves straight from Paris. Small amounts of real jewelry and a great haircut to finish things off and life was good. Oh my God I miss those days. I think I might even miss pantyhose.
But I know I miss shopping. I know it’s good for the economy. I know it’s good for your mood. I know dressing up or putting out a new candle holder or pillow has value on a variety of levels. But I’ve got, what, a million candle holders and pillows either shelved or packed away in the attic. I have more purses and more scarves than the law should allow. And if I were able to get to the bottom of my sock drawer, I would no doubt find a couple of packages of pantyhose, circa 1980.
So here’s another immutable fact, I miss the rush of shopping, but I guess it’s another of those getting-to-a-certain-age things I’m just going to have to learn to live without. It’s a shame all those sales and coupons, and “great values” for “a limited time” will be unrequited in our house. We have definitely hit the demographic of having pretty much all we want, and certainly more than we need. And besides, don’t these people know we’re in a recession?