“What other colors does it come in?”
This is how my mother shops for clothing. When she sees something she likes – be it a blouse, or a particular style of pants, not to mention shoes – she’ll buy it in several different colors. It’s insanity, I know, but now she’s even got me doing it. Yes, all I’ve learned about shopping, I’ve learned from my mother.
You’d think living over two hundred miles apart would’ve put a crimp in our shopping expeditions, but it hasn’t. When I’m home for the weekend, our shopping marathons lead us to fine stores everywhere. And when she’s visiting me, we often drive up to the outlets in Kittery for a full day of shopping in the great state of Maine.
Then there’s the long distance shopping… I’ll find a voice mail message when I get home at night: “I got something for you today. It’ll arrive tomorrow by FED EX.”
I’ll call back to tell her, “Thanks Mom, but you didn’t have to do that.”
“I know, but it was so perfect for you – and they were just giving it away.”
“Why’d you FED EX it? I’m coming home in two weeks.”
“I couldn’t wait – I wanted you to have it now.”
When I offer to pay for said item, she flatly refuses. And I don’t have the heart to point out to her that whatever she supposedly saved on the sale, she’s more than spent on the FED EX charge.
Her other big rationalization for committing what can only be described as consumer carnage is that she wasn’t even looking for this latest treasure. “I fell over it!” she’ll insist.
She frequents craft fairs, not only to support the local artists, but also to pick up some truly unique, one-of-a-kind items. She’ll present me with a stunning ceramic bowl or piece of stained glass that’s been stuffed into a shopping bag with bubble wrap and wads of tissue paper. When I innocently comment, “You didn’t get a box?” she’ll reply, “Box, schmox – he would only take cash – it was tough goin’.”
Despite all the shopping, one of my mother’s greatest gifts to me is not something she purchased, but rather something she taught me. How to always, always, be generous.