Friday, May 8, 2009


1 a: to examine goods or services with intent to buy b: to hunt through a market in search of the best buy
2: the 5th circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno

OK, let's start today with the confession that I've never actually read Dante's Inferno, but I am fairly certain shopping doesn't play a key role. This is only because Dante never went shopping with K.

Yesterday, K and I stopped at a neighborhood store whose windows are packed with cute home items. I wanted to find gifts for A's and K's ballet teachers. Naturally, because I detest shopping, I had left this until the day of the banquet, so I had to find something.

A and her classmates had been very specific about what gift they wanted to give their teacher. They wanted a picture frame that they could sign their names on. I brought two class pictures with me so that I could pick the frame that looked the best with the picture in it. The easiest thing would have been to find a frame with a mat inside so they could sign the mat. Alas, this was not available in the cute little shop's offerings and I was unwilling to drive 15-20 minutes to a more traditional retail setting where I could be certain of finding what I wanted. (Besides, I like hand-made, unique gifts.) While I am looking for a picture frame and trying out the two pics in the frames, K is going bonkers over the craziest of things.

The store had a lamp made with old fashioned Barbie dolls hanging from its rims - it was as horrid as it sounds - and K immediately wanted it. The lamp was out of her reach, but there was a packet of the Barbies at her level. I wanted to just blurt out to her that the entire thing was creepy (pre-fab, unrealistic female bodies hanging from a lamp??!), but didn't want to offend the shopkeeper. So I tried to divert her attention while simultaneously keeping her from touching everything in sight.

SIDEBAR: If my brother-in-law read this blog, he would probably laugh at the fact that I have to keep K from touching everything. The first time he and I ever shopped together (over a decade ago), he asked me why I kept touching everything as I walked past the clothing. "If I don't like the way it feels, I don't like it," I explained very reasonably. Little did I know my daughter(s) would inherit this tactile trait of wanting (needing?) to touch everything in sight.

I finally find a picture frame while K ogles the packaged Barbies. As I go over to her, I see necklaces hanging nearby and distract K by having her pick out one for Miss B, her teacher. She chooses a lovely one.

We're all set. Except for the card. This should be fairly painless, right? Wrong.

K likes to look at the cards. She does not lack for an opinion on which card to buy. Unfortunately, she can't read and doesn't understand why it would be inappropriate to give her ballet teacher a "I'm so sorry for your loss card" to celebrate the end of a year of ballet since said card has a lovely flower arrangement on the cover. I finally talk her into the card I want by pointing out the beautiful star on the front and minimizing the fact that the words actually say what I want them to say.

We're almost done and I can nearly feel the relaxation that will be mine once we pay and leave the store. Almost. The shopkeeper (who has been on a phone call the entire time I've been in the store) offers to wrap my gifts. I allow him since this is one less thing to do when I get home, but it does mean more standing around. While we are waiting, K spies a jar of jelly beans. Now, one of the many things I did wrong on top of bringing K into this store is that we were shopping right at lunch time. But who knows how long those jelly beans had been there? Who knows if they were even edible? I couldn't ask the clerk who was still on the phone AND wrapping my gifts - two tasks seemed like more than enough.

So I distract, cajole, and order my daughter around for a few more minutes. Once we're finally in the car, I reward us both. K gets a happy meal and I get an iced coffee.

No more shopping, please.


RBM said...

Ha! I love this post, because I also HATE shopping, it is definitely in my 5th circle of Hell as well. I used to think there was something un-female about me, because I hate shopping so much, but now I see I am not alone! :)

rufusjt said...

I guess I'll have to take back the Barbie doll lamp we bought you for Mother's Day.

Kate will be SO disappointed!


Chocolate, Vanilla and Caramel said...

This is absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard. You sound like me. I could totally do without shopping. The barbie lamp sounds like something my own daughter would immediately go for. Also, the whole card scene was so funny. I do think you should have let her go for a "Sorry for your loss" card. I mean, come on, if the flowers on the front are pretty..