Thrift Store Shopping

I love doing thrift store shopping. Always have. Yesterday I took my daughter and her friend to a couple thrift stops. I’m always amazed at the variety of items you can find. We were mostly looking at clothes. My daughter and her friend found a couple dresses and jackets. They even convinced my son to buy a really tacky 90’s vest.

I found a nice Lacoste shirt and a velvet smoking jacket that I needed in my possession.

I did find some items that were amazing in their own way. I found an oil bottle that plays music when you lift it up.

But the best had to be the item I picked up for $2.50. We gave it to our oldest daughter and she loves it.

This is one we will keep for years to come, much to my wife’s dismay. But almost everyone who has seen it wants it. It’s still one of my favorite thrift store finds.

Cyber Bully Monday

Maybe I just have a weak point in my brain and ego. But I got sucked into purchasing on Cyber Monday again this year. I feel as if society has bullied me into being a consumer whore. Buying up stuff on sale whether I need it or not.

Of course I couldn’t help but check out the deals on Amazon. Honestly, there’s always something I could buy. I think the Internet gods are watching over me a bit too closely and catering to my desires. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, YouTube, etc… all show me things I want. I think they are watching me closely. One day I think Cyberdyne will be real. Wait, what? Moving right along…

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who took a shot at how wonderfully awful warehouse shipping centers can be. Even in the future where robots deliver packages the same day, there’s something both alarming and intriguing about this. For now I have to suffer with free two day shipping. No instant gratification quite yet like going to a store and braving a sea of people.

So ya.

I bought something online first thing this morning. A part of me is excited about it. And a part of me loathes myself for it. Too late now. I clicked on the check out and my item is being processed!

KERBLAM!

Walmart is Ugh

I went shopping today at Walmart.

I hated it.

I don’t like Walmart.

I prefer to go to local produce and grocery stores for my meats and vegetables. So I don’t buy that stuff at Walmart.

But when I want cheaply made goods at cheap prices from a brick and mortar store- Walmart is it. It’s instant gratification and I have my plastic crap in my possession.

Otherwise, most of my shopping is online. Amazon is pretty good for most of my needs. I don’t really need stuff immediately, so I can wait.

Ugh. Walmart.

This place is just so bright with artificial lighting and sketchy people. What if I’m the sketchy person? Not today Walmart. Not today am I the sketchy one. There’s a toddler steaming at the checkout line with purple lips from a can of soda… Even the employees are kinda not all there as the huddle in groups until a customer tries to approach. Then they scatter like cockroaches.

Ugh. Get me out of here.

Oh look! A deal on paper-towels and WWE t-shirts!

Time to leave. Ooo McDonald’s is in here as well…

FML

Crazy Rush


I always try and have everything set for the holidays a couple of days in advance.  Today is my own personal cut off day for shopping until after December 27th.  If I can avoid malls and shops for the next five days (or longer) I’ll be a happy man.  It’s totally doable.  

Gift purchases are long since done.  95% of them are even wrapped and ready for under the tree.  This was mostly done by my wife this year since I took on my new role at work.  A huge sigh of relief has come over me- knowing that I won’t need to hit a Walmart for that last minute gift.  Today was just loading up on groceries from Costco for the next few days.  Meat and cheeses were the main deals.  Now it’s time to focus on baking a few batches of cookies over the next couple days.


Only once did I ever brave the mall on a Christmas Eve to do some shopping.  I was 17 at the time and had just gotten paid.  I called a female friend come with me as I searched for a gift for my parents.  It was sort of date and magical in a sense.  We shared stories of our Christmas traditions and childhood Christmases.  We walked arm in arm through the stores as she helped me find something of value to gift my parents.  I found a set of glassware that was in my budget and seemed like a responsible gift.  I drove my friend home, gave her a hug and wished her a Merry Christmas.  

At the time, I was too shy to make a romantic move on her.  It just wasn’t meant to be.  We are still online friends to this day and she has a wonderful family.  I saw her last year in person at a Christmas craft fair and she still seems happy as ever.  She has a spot in my heart with a special memory of Christmas Eve.

Cyber Monday

Much like Black Friday, I avoided Cyber Monday.  There wasn’t any great deals to be had this year on the items people really want.  Unless of course you wanted to shove a bunch of cheap crap for Christmas under the tree to make the giving look extravagant.  Sometimes the hype of sales and spending sucks people in.  

But Santa isn’t real.


My wife and I do our shopping throughout the year, so we do stockpile some items for the family.  Necessities are always bought and used as needed- new pants/shoes/school supplies.  But things like videogames/movies/toys and those items that are a bit more “luxury” are saved for under the Christmas tree.  But of course as Christmas nears, we still look and discuss if there are any last minute (a month prior is last minute for us) items we should get.  Like I said, nothing this Black Friday/Cyber Monday was on our list of must own.


So today, my wife and I went out to a mall that my wife has never been to, and I haven’t been to in probably two decades.  It was dated.  Like 1980’s dated and brought in a bunch of memories for me.  Weird memories of shopping with my mom when I was a kid just before Christmas.  (That’s for a different blog post).  There was a toy store that time forgot (or the leasehold did) hidden in the middle.  Guaranteed people walked by it without giving it a second look because it didn’t say “GameStop” or “Toys-R-Us”.  I was fascinated by the store as my wife and I wandered through it.  They charged more than it should on items I could find elsewhere for cheaper.  Yet somehow, here it was- 3 decades later still holding on.

But this mall has all the regular stores that a Canadian mall has- “The Bay” “Sears” “The Gap” and every other mall related store in between.  We decided to stop in the “Apple Store” because my wife was hinting that she was thinking of getting me the Apple Watch 2.  I was giddy with excitement and hurried along to enter the store!

I was ready to hand over money…


I like my iPhone.  My kids love their iPad Mini.  I really wanted an Apple Watch.  As we waited to be helped, I played with the newest Apple Watch 2.  It’s sleek.  It’s elegant.  It’s wearable tech.  It’s all those things that the kid inside of me really wants.  When the Apple employee came over, I had a slew of questions.  My wife did not.  (This was my thing.  She never cared much for it.)  He started by apologizing to me that they were out of most of the styles because people came in over the weekend purchasing products even though there was no Black Friday Sale on Apple merchandise.  Sales hype gets people in the mood to spend.  

As we spoke, my interest in owning the watch diminished.  My wife could sense it.  The salesman could too.  The final thing that got me to realize that it wasn’t worth the money (to me at least) is that the battery has approximately 1000 charges and no way to replace it.  Roughly three years- longer if I only use the time display and none of the other functions.  Thanking him for his time, I walked away empty handed.  But I was ok with that.  My wife was a bit upset.  This was the gift she wanted to give me this year.


Spending $600 or more on me when I have a family and other responsibilities seems selfish.  Being able to say “I don’t need it” -and mean it- feels good.  Sure, now my wife feels she may be scrambling now for that perfect gift for me, but it’s better than getting something that I may end up feeling “meh” about later on.  The Apple Watch just isn’t what I want.  

I don’t know what I want for myself this holiday season.  All I really want is for my family to be happy.  It’s not about me.  It never was.  I’m sure one day, my wife will surprise me and blow me away with her thoughtfulness and extraordinary gift giving ability.  But as we left the Apple Store, she pointed out that I am very particular about what I want.  And shopping for me has never been easy.  

She still has a month to get me something that she deems worthy of “the gift” this year.  Good luck dear.

Shopping.  Not shopping.

This evening my wife and I had about an hour to kill while we were out.  So we decided to “go shopping”.  We didn’t need to buy anything in particular.  Food was fairly stocked up in our home, so groceries were off the list.  Thank goodness.  That’s when we usually run into people we know… 


Hitting Costco is like dropping a mortgage payment inadvertently while wandering around browsing- so we avoided that place as well.  We decided to look around at a Home/Bath/Bedroom place since we don’t normally go to those places.


We weren’t really looking to spend money.  It was more a way for us to discuss what changes to our home we’d like to do.  Maybe some new dishes?  Perhaps some hand towels?  Serving sets or small appliances?  We walked and talked for a nearly an hour in an empty large box retail store.  We noticed one sales associate kept following us, but never made contact.  It was eerie after a while.  Then it dawned on me, we didn’t have a shopping cart, we were constantly picking up items and putting them down.  At one point, my wife and I were “testing pillows” by laying down our heads on them while they were in the bin.  This lady following us must think we are trying to shoplift.  

My wife in her leggings, purse, and comfortable hoodie & me all clean cut in nice pants and a sweater were clearly there for a “five finger discount” at 8pm on a Monday night.  It was strange being stalked by an employee.  Needless to say we weren’t stealing, nor did we want to buy anything after that.  So we left.  We then headed over to the worst place for shopping ever- Walmart.

It was a wonderful sensation going in there.  We didn’t fit in.  I’m not saying we’re better off than other people, but, we’re better off than most Walmart shoppers.  Heck, the website People of Walmart is pretty dang accurate.  Especially in that odd time of day before closing…  Again, we just wandered around and as usual, just didn’t feel the need to spend money.


Walking away from a store without spending money really isn’t that tough.  But it made me realize that I don’t like “window shopping” anymore.  Everything I want, I can search out online.  Even the prices can be drastically lower.  Unfortunately, we spend way more now online…

So for me, the general shopping experience isn’t fun.  I don’t get a euphoric feeling spending money.  I don’t like to clutter my home with stuff (even though my home is cluttered with stuff).  In desperate times, my wife and I are usually “Pro Shoppers”.  Get in, get the goods, get out.  Wandering aimlessly isn’t our thing.  I’m cool with that.  More money in the bank for the important things in life.  

Like vacations!  Boy do I want to travel more.  That gives me a euphoric sensation, but that’s for a different post.