Power Shopping

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Power shopping was a social sport for me and my mom. We were not necessarily intent on purchasing anything. Rather we were determined to walk and talk for hours while in search of  ultimate bargains. I loved being with her as we sauntered up and down every aisle in a Macy’s or Walmart or even a Dollar Tree. Finding good deals was like unearthing a treasure for us, but mostly it was a fun way just to be together. 

The only other person I have ever found able to match my mother’s stamina and enthusiasm for shopping was my dear friend, Pat Weimer. She was a gold medal champion of endurance, able to spend entire days on her feet checking out stores with precision. She had an eye for finding just the right item for anyone on her list, but she was always careful to compare prices and be certain that she had found the best possible deal. 

One of Pat’s favorite times to check out stores was on Christmas Eve when everyone was exhausted from Christmas shopping’ Only a few desperate men were roaming the aisles on the day before Christmas hoping to find a last minute gift in stores that appeared to have been decimated by a riot. That’s when Pat often found hidden jewels that were all but free as merchants attempted to move out the holiday inventory to make way for the next season. Sometimes she would call me and ask me to accompany her on her treasure hunt and I almost always felt intrigued enough to go along. 

My friend Cappy was, and still is, the thrift store queen. She has found the most remarkable items at second hand stores. She trolls certain places on a regular basis and has no hesitation to dive into a pile of seeming junk. When she still lived nearby we would begin our shopping days early in the morning to beat the crowds. She had certain favorite shops that determined the route that we took. She always brought along wipes to clean our hands and bottled water to keep us hydrated. When our conversation stalled to one word grunts she knew that it was time to refuel with lunch for which she always had some kind of discount coupon. I still smile when I think of the marathons we ran through charity guild shops and mega thrift locations. 

Those were the days! Shopping was a social occasion and a competitive sport all in one grand event. It was a way to laugh and tell stories without ever actually having to spend a dime. It was our excuse for being together. Sometimes we even managed to find a treasure that would become a cherished addition to our homes or our closets. I loved those days mostly because I loved being with those women. 

Now two of them have died and one lives over a thousand miles away. I don’t spend much time shopping anymore because it just isn’t fun when I am alone. I’d rather find what I need online and have it delivered to my home. Wandering around a store without a beloved companion holds no joy for me and taking my husband makes it even worse. He is one of those people who grows impatient with browsing. He knows what he wants when he walks into a store and homes in on the product with precision. The less time he spends hunting for his intended purchase the happier he is. Shopping with him is a sprint rather than a marathon. To him it’s a heinous job, not a form of entertainment.

Most people these days are not particularly enamored with the idea of day long shopping trips. It’s almost impossible to find anyone with enough desire and stamina to spend hours perusing wares. Everyone is either very busy or uninterested in devoting so much time to a seemingly trivial pursuit. I have resigned myself to surfing the Internet alone to find the things that I need. The process is lacking in social merit but I’ve adjusted to the new ways while sometimes longing for the days of old with my olympic worthy shopping mother and friends. 

This morning I saw a photo of someone that I know embarking on power shopping with her mother at an outlet mall. It made me remember those days with mama or Pat or Cappy. I got a warm and gooey feeling all over as I smiled at the thought of memories of our crazy times together. I’d love nothing more than to enjoy one more day of shopping with any of them. We would not have to purchase a thing but we would surely solve the problems of the world as we sauntered along every aisle examining the quality of wares like the traders of old. 

One of the places that my mother enjoyed the most was the Macy’s at Almeda Mall. After she had died it was damaged in a hurricane and I thought it was doomed to be closed forever. Then one day I received a notice that it was opening again. I went to the gala and sobbed tears of joy as I remembered the many times that Mama and I had roamed from one department to another. I had such a warm feeling being back inside and I still feel that way anytime I go there. Somehow my mother’s spirit seems to still be there and I feel such happiness remembering how much fun we had there. Those were the days!


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