My daughters, Kimberly and Katy, love to go shopping with me. It began in their teen years and even now is part of our vacation times together. We plan it, strategize the shortest routes, best bargains, and even how to work in a stop at Cold Stone or Starbucks.
Our favorite part of the event, however, has nothing to do with bargains or actual shopping. We have contests. It began in hat departments back when there were hat departments. It goes something like this:
Kimberly or Katy walks to a rack of hats. I station myself at another rack.
Someone says, "One, two three, GO!" We each grab the most hideous millinery we can spot, don it and wait to vote on who found the worst hat.
We were laughing a bit too loudly one shopping contest day in Belks when a clerk asked us in a chilly tone, "Are you ladies looking for hats?"
Respectfully one of my girls giggled our confession, "No ma'am. We're just laughing at them."
We were asked to leave.
Recently I had my grandson, Caleb, in a shopping cart. His mom, Katy, was trying on clothes. So he and I entertained ourselves trying on hats and sunglasses. We rolled down to her aisle and she cracked up at me and mini-me in Jackie O sunglasses, ball caps and straw beach hats!
The general decline in the hat market and being ushered out of classy stores made our excursions difficult. It still works occasionally in certain stores just before Easter. But we're resourceful, creative women so all this simply drove us to another venue and version.
THRIFT STORES! Now there's a resource for outlandish garments that remains despite the economy and fashion. It contains a rich history of tacky to hilarious garments.
Once again we position ourselves one aisle apart and start the countdown. On three we hold up our ugliest skirt or blouse, vote with thumbs up or down on who wins the round for worst dress. Not worst dressed.
Sometimes our shopping contests turn to hunts and we actually find some gorgeous things. Kimberly found a beautiful Liz Claiborne shift for under $4! It looked brand new and fit her like a glove. That same day between shopping and tacky contests she needed to use the restroom so we found it in Goodwill. As I waited in the lobby between the men's and women's rooms for her, a man came up, waiting while his wife shopped. We chatted about nothing.
Still in a playful mood I asked him if he'd play a trick on Kimberly with me. He smiled sheepishly but had a glint in his eye that said, "Yes."
So I enlisted him, explaining my idea. As planned, I flung open the door to the ladies room and right on cue he hollered to Kimberly in the stall, "Hey, lady! This is the MEN'S ROOM!"
When she came out, he quickly pointed the finger at me. "Oh, sir, I knew my mama was behind it. Don't worry."
At the checkout counter he was in line with his wife just ahead of us. He smiled but said nothing about our adventure from minutes prior. Just as they walked away I touched his wife's arm and whispered, "I-I hate to say anything but you ought to know. Your husband was just in the LADIES ROOM harassing my daughter!"
She turned white, jaw dropped, looked at her husband, who looked every bit guilty, sputtered but couldn't deny nor explain it quickly enough.
So I did.
We all had a great laugh. So did the clerks. They welcomed us back. I guess it all depends on where you shop as to your "Return" policy!
They certainly know how to create:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the one who has supported my shopping habit for over 40 years now! I love you, Doug! I shopped for quality and got you. You knew I was half-off and couldn't resist a bargain!
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!