Saturday, January 7, 2012

Am I A Buyer Or A Shopper?

Am I a buyer or a shopper? I guess it might depend on the background music. (See yesterday's post, "Pogoing in Aisle 9). But I hadn't really thought of it that way before, until I saw H.B's comment on yesterday's post. Typically I think I've belonged more in the buyer camp. At least, since I've had kids, when shopping of any kind meant Major Hassle.

In the baby years it meant pushing one in the stroller while carrying the other in a Baby Bjorn pack. In the toddler years it meant pushing both of them around in a double stroller. I always knew where the elevators were in department stores. Then after they were both potty-trained it was repeat trips to the restroom. I swear Annabelle made a point of visiting a bathroom on every outing, no matter how quick a trip it was. Then they outgrew the stroller but doing all that walking on their own they'd get tired, hungry, cranky, and their patience levels dropped even lower than my energy level, if such a thing was possible. They could only endure so much before it was necessary to let them blow off steam in one of those play areas with the giant pieces of food, or to buy them rides on the carousel. Then they got to the age where they each had very different ideas about what they wanted to shop for and for how long, and one of them needed to shop in Juniors while the other needed to shop in girls.

But I had a weird experience a short time before Christmas. I found myself doing the unthinkable---heading to the mall five days before Christmas--because both my daughters wanted to go Christmas shopping, with their own money even, and so I gave in and gritted my teeth and took them. I expected to hate it, but oddly, I enjoyed it. I was right there in the thick of the crowds, on my feet for hours, wandering the stores, and enjoying it. What could account for these positive feelings flowing through my being, I thought? This is the busiest time of the year. The shops are mobbed. Why was I finding pleasure in this? I wondered if the mall was somehow piping in happy gas and my fellow customers and I were caught up in some sort of somnambulant trance.

Then it hit me, and I knew the reason for my buoyant mood. I was shopping alone, without my daughters. They are at the age where they can now shop in the mall without me as long as they are with a buddy, or each other. And it makes all the difference in the world. No wonder I was feeling so carefree while all was madness around me. To have the luxury to go to any store I wanted, browse as long as I wanted, to follow only my own impulses, without someone belly-aching about how bored or thirsty they were, was liberation. It put shopping in a whole new light, and that startled me. To flirt even briefly with the idea of shopping for recreation was to court danger. What was to become of me, when my children were no longer around to obstruct me. Would I become one of those ladies who buy 7 handbags they don't need and 4 coffeemakers and 3 watches?

Maybe, but it's more likely I'll just become a more hopeless window shopper. Without my kids along to prod and push me, I'll spend more time gazing at merchandise and drawing out buying decisions. I might become more of a shopper, but that doesn't mean I'll actually buy anything.


  1. Shopping is considerably less expensive than buying.

    Buying is more satisfying than shopping.

    (although, I have been known to shop at Home's a boy thing)

  2. well i can never get the two phenomenons to merge. when i feel like buying, i only have funds for shopping. when i am flush with cash, (a rare occurence) the urge to buy disappears and all i can do is shop,,,and wander,,and talk myself out of buying!

  3. uh, you talk as if this "wandering for hours" is a new thing for you. some of us remember searching for you for hours. you're just revisiting your childhood, girl.

  4. Where was I when this searching for me for hours happened? I don't remember anyone coming for me.

  5. It's all about the cell phones. How relaxed could we be with our girls at large in an enormous shopping complex with thousands of people without our trusty cell? Sure, we could say, "Meet me at the food court at such and such time," but I would be anxious until that time. Which brings us to the next entry...