The Joy of Shopping

A woman, standing in a checkout line with a heaping shopping cart, told the clerk, “My husband’s going to be mad that I’ve shopped all day.” The clerk replied, “I’m sure he’ll understand, when you tell him about all the bargains you found.” The woman said, “I don’t think so. This morning he broke his arm, and he’s waiting in the car for me to take him to the emergency room.”

Do you lose track of time when sniffing out sales in search of that illusive, ultimate bargain? I sure do. But yesterday, I had a strange experience. I ran into Wal-mart and bought only the light bulbs I’d gone in for. I was back in my car within ten minutes. Even the husband was shocked.

It’s an eerie feeling to shop without a cart, spend less than ten dollars, and leave the store without checking out the sale racks. Normally, I go in for a couple necessities and emerge three hours later with an empty checkbook and a forklift loaded with purchases.

I should win the Nobel prize for shopping. I can turn a trip to the drugstore for toenail clippers into a shopping marathon. I lapse into a half-crazed shopping stupor when I disappear through those automatic doors, and I rarely leave without an overflowing cart full of handy items like the industrial size floor waxer I got for half price, or the duster on a twelve-foot pole — which I’ve never used — to clean those hard to reach places. (Heck! I don’t even clean the EASY to reach places.)

I’ve found some great bargains over the years, like those cute little nets you put over your paper plate to keep flies off your potato salad. Too bad I can never find them when we have picnics. Then there were those ten-cent pantyhose. Now that’s the sort of discount you don’t see every day. I’m sure I’ll need them eventually, even if they are iridescent orange and sized for pygmies.

I once picked up some adorable little brushes made especially for cleaning test tubes. I don’t have test tubes, but my industrious, obsessive-compulsive husband uses them to scrub light bulbs, door knobs, and loose change.

I was so proud of the wok I got on sale in 1983. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, but last year my clever grandson discovered that it worked well for melting down gold jewelry.

And what about that great deal I got on old Monkees albums? At ninety-eight cents each, they were a steal. Guess what everyone on my Christmas gift list is getting this year?

I’m the poster girl for Shopaholics Anonymous. My drug of choice is the Dollar Store. The last thing the husband shouts as I leave the house is, “Be strong! Stay away from the Dollar Store!” He understands that when it comes to the lure of those treasure-laden aisles, I’m as helpless to resist as a monkey who has sworn off bananas. As I once heard another addict remark, I can have a real shopgasm there. I’ve been known to push not one but two carts around in that funland. Children follow me and stare in amazement as I load the baskets till their wheels go flat. I stock up on things like lug nuts, nose hair trimmers, hair nets, ear wax remover, parakeet food, and kitty litter. I don’t have a cat or a bird; but strays might end up on my doorstep someday, and I’ll be prepared. After all, everything in the store is only one dollar, so why not splurge? What a rush! Till I reach the checkout counter and the clerk announces my total of $387.

The husband doesn’t understand about sales. He couldn’t care less that I saved ten dollars. All he sees are the double digit figures on the receipts. He’s so old fashioned, he thinks you shouldn’t buy something unless you really need it. I hate the way his lips turn white and form a thin, straight line when he looks through the check register. Then the veins in his neck bulge out and I know he’s beginning to get peeved with me. That’s when I know it’s time to lock myself in the bathroom till the storm blows over. I sometimes take six showers a day.

H.M. is a twice-a-year shopper. Every Christmas Eve at 11:00 P.M., he takes his annual five minute dash through the open-all-night drugstore to pick up whatever is on the end of the first two aisles. Family members are always surprised by his unique gifts, like the battery powered tweezers, Power Rangers toothbrush, and the package of Snoopy Band-Aids I received last year.

His second shopping spree takes place during the Vernal Equinox when he spends a total of seven minutes purchasing his new summer wardrobe. He goes into race mode when his feet hit the floor of a store. He never uses a cart and doesn’t try anything on. He grabs whatever is nearest the checkout counter. I run to keep up, as he tosses items over my arms.
The next day, I inevitably trudge back to the store and exchange it all because the shoes are three sizes too small and the shirts are size 6X.
I know better than to send H.M. to the grocery store. I once gave him a list with three items on it and he didn’t get any of them. Instead of canned tomatoes, he brought home beets. I got a bag of flour instead of sugar; and rather than picking up oranges, he bought a case of grapefruit. We HATE grapefruit. He says he makes mistakes like these because he doesn’t read labels. Always being in a hurry, he simply grabs whatever looks like the item he’s after. I think he does it on purpose so I won’t send him to the store again.

Maybe I should be a little more like him, though. Think of the time I would save if I spent less of it in search of that ultimate bargain.
Actually, I don’t need to shop at all to find the deal of the century. I’ve already found it — and not just the deal of this century, but of every century.

The best deal ever has been called “the pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:45) which is worth everything you can sell to buy it. It’s a deal God made two thousand years ago. He paid a ransom for you with the life of His only son. It purchased your freedom from the power of sin and death.
The blood of Jesus bought eternal life for every person who is willing to accept His gift. You won’t find a greater deal in any mall on earth.