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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Rich Shopper, Broke Shopper

My roommate and I love to shop, but we have different shopping styles. The real shoppers out there know what I mean when I say that. There are distinct types of shoppers (and several more sub-types). The two types of shoppers who fascinate me the most are the ones who browse and the ones who buy without blinking.

The Browser is the shopper who practice that form of first-world torture called "Window Shopping." Unless you're in the market for windows, that's stupid anyway. Who the heck ever came up with the idea of just browsing is one sick son of a you-know-what. (I gave up smoking. Trying to lose the cursing.) For someone like me, browsing in, say, Walmart, would be like a lonely sex addict hanging out in The Pleasure Palace Adult Toy Store. Impossible.

I don't even like to talk about Browsers. They make me feel inadequate. They make me feel like I should be able to do what they do without being medicated and trussed up like Hannibal Lecter.

Moving along.

The shoppers I envy are those who can buy without blinking. I think of them as the Bored Who Can Afford.

I rarely hang where I can observe the super-wealthy, but I've had moments. This shopper is easy to spot. Look for the person who doesn't blink, swallow, or shudder really hard, when they see a ridiculously high priced common item.

When living in Arizona, I once wandered into a Williams Sonoma store by accident. (It was an accident because I never should have been anywhere near the Scottsdale Fashion Square. Let me quit playing - I shouldn't have been in Scottsdale, period.) As soon as I walked into the store, I knew I was like Pretty Woman wandering into a Chanel boutique. But my pride made me resist running and screaming back to a Walmart in my part of town. I decided to make a casual cruise-through and then just sort of saunter out of the place before an employee offered to help me find something. I almost made it out of there without embarrassing myself, but then...


Have you ever seen one of those food graters that have multiple attachments? I have (because I watch a lot of cooking shows). Barefoot Contessa be damned, I have no need for a grater that does more than the $3.25 one I use for cheese (okay - and for reaching things in the back of my spice cabinet), but I saw one at Williams Sonoma that looked pretty cool. Another lady stopped to look at the same item. She smelled like new leather and good perfume. She smiled at me (acceptance). I smiled back and, caught up in the moment, lost my mind for a minute and forgot exactly where I was. When I reached up and flipped over the price tag the grater which looked a lot like this,

Does it grate Cheddar into "chedda"?

I almost had what my mother would call a "conniption fit." That #$%# thing cost over one hundred and twenty dollars.

I swallowed my gum. Ms. New Leather didn't even look toward the price tag, but she smiled at me again and picked up two of the graters before she strolled away. The heifer did it just to put me in my place. I know she did. Rich people...

Call me a hater if you want, but giving more than ten bucks - maybe twenty - for a small kitchen tool is just snooty. But that's how the rich can do it. I bet New Leather has never even used her graters. She probably has a private sous chef and cook. And I can't even curse about it. $%#%*!

The other day, the roomie and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. This is a big deal because I almost never go there. For one thing, I want every single item in the store. For another thing, I'd have to take out a small loan to afford some of the stuff they sell. Nevertheless, I needed a set of those Magic Hangers that have been on my Wish List for a minute. I say I need the hangers because that's the truth. Number One, I have a small closet and clothes in at least 3 different sizes. Number Two, I am a woman. I guess Number Two kind of explains it all, right? Anyway, Magic Hangers really do maximize the use of a closet.

Understand that I am a frugal sort of person. The difference between "frugal" and "cheap" is that a frugal person goes for quality and best price while a cheap person will buy condoms from a Dollar Store.

My roommate is a spendthrift. The woman shops like she's Oprah. She will spend her last dime today without giving a damn about the gas money she needs tomorrow.

We get to B.B.B. and I go off-course only once. There is a sale on bath sheets and I have been dying for some new ones since I left the old ones with the ex. I get ONE bath sheet and then go straight to the Magic Hangers. In the end, I left the store with the towel, the hangers and a couple of .99 cent candles. I was so proud of myself. I pretty much felt like this:

"Can't touch this, baby!"

My roommate? ~another sigh~ I have no idea what all she bought, but I heard the clerk giving her total as a high seventy-something. What the heck? I was the one going for hangers. She was only going along to keep me company!

I didn't want to ask her what she bought, but I felt bad for her when we got home. I saw her sitting in the living room, looking from her receipt to her wallet. Her face looked something like:

"Wha? Huh?"

That evening, she asked me to stay with her in any store at all times. I have best friend orders to pimp-slap her if she buys anything that looks unnecessary. I told her to do what I do: pile your cart as high as you want - as long as, before you get to check-out, you put back everything you don't need or can't afford.