ginny: on shopping

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning because there is a high probability that Julie will mention it.  I believe that when you know what you are buying, and you are buying multiple items, it makes the most sense to buy the heaviest thing last.  That way you don’t have to carry it around with you everywhere else.  I shared this bit of shopping wisdom with Julie when I lived in Chicago.  My other shopping wisdom that she doesn’t know is that I also believe that when you are in a mall, you should go around it to the right.  That way, when you come out of a store you don’t have that moment where you are standing there wondering which way to turn.  Did you come from this way or that?  It just makes sense.

I like things that make sense.

For instance, when I go to grocery store I take my reusable bags, including two that are insulated.  Since the meat area is the first place I go – the grocery store is a “left to right” endeavor, unlike the “go around to the right” approach at shopping malls – I put the meat in one of the insulated bags to keep it cold while I do the rest of my shopping.  I use the other insulated bag for dairy products.  I cannot take credit for this idea (that goes to Alton Brown of Good Eats on Food Network), but it just makes sense to me to keep the cold things cold while I do the rest of my shopping.

When I get to the check-out line I do my best to put my groceries in some sort of order on the conveyor belt so that they can easily be packed.  I alternate a couple heavy things with some lighter items, and when that is done I place all of the produce together, and all of the non-food purchases together.  At the end of the line are the meat and dairy items, along with the insulated bags they have been hanging out in.  It just amazes me how some cashiers can take something that is organized, not perfectly of course, but organized, and completely go off track.  I can visualize how all of this stuff could be packed very neatly into the bags, and what ends up happening makes no sense at all.  I end up with a couple of really heavy bags, with things shoved in helter skelter, and then some bags with virtually nothing in them.  I know it’s weird, but I even line up the meat items so that they scan the heaviest item first, the one that I want on the bottom of the bag, and all they have to do is place the rest of the stuff on top.  How difficult is it to pack a bag?

The right way to pack groceries, the way that makes sense, is easy for me to see.  It will come as no surprise that I have taken to packing my own groceries.

Yes, I know my methodology is a little extreme.  I offer no excuses.

Clothes shopping as a fat woman is no fun.  Most everything in the public forum is no fun as a fat woman, but let’s focus on clothes shopping.  If you think that fat women dress horribly, you should take a look one day at what they have to choose from.  Through all my years of shopping while fat there were never any good quality, attractive, reasonably priced clothes.  Okay, maybe “never” is too strong a word, but there is certainly not the selection available to fat women that there is to women who are not fat.  Horrible prints, shapeless silhouettes, and terrible itchy, cheap fabric rule. A significant portion of the population is now fat, so it makes no sense to be ignoring their needs or relegating them to a small corner in the back of the store.

Clothes shopping as a smaller woman is more fun, but the sizing on women’s clothes?  Now that doesn’t make sense.  Nor does the anguish that accompanies women when they aren’t in the size they think they should be in.  When I was thinking about this today I came up with an idea to use colors instead of numbers to indicate sizes.  Then I realized that before too long women would start to say things like “I can’t believe I’m a blue!  I used to be a green.”  It’s a mindset, one that I have bought into many times in my life, and it absolutely does not make sense.  It is an arbitrary scale devoid of any meaning besides the one we give it.  Buy clothes that look good on you in whatever size that happens to fit.  End of clothes shopping story.

Now a drug store, or a store like Target, I could shop for hours in places like that.  In those cases shopping does not necessarily lead to buying.  I like to look at the stuff, see what new things are for sale, laugh at some of the more ridiculous items, and just generally waste a bunch of time.  When I use these stores as shopping therapy I can count on a $100 tab at the end of the day.  I know this makes no sense at all.

I would like to say that I like shopping at used book stores, but I cannot.  While there may be some order to how they shelve their books, there is not enough order for me.  I imagine my sister, who loves used bookstores, likes the randomness and the unexpected finds, not to mention the good deals, but me not so much.  I like book stores where the books are lined up alphabetically, and each books smells new (I don’t care for the musty odor of most old books).  I like browsing through the new arrivals.  Now that I have a Nook as well as the Kindle app for my iPad I don’t buy many non-ebooks, but I still love to go to bookstores.  I don’t like shopping for books online – I like to feel them in my hands, read a couple of pages, and peruse the front and back covers.  So what I do now is go to bookstores and take pictures of the books with my phone so that I know what to order online when I get home.  It’s the best of both worlds.  That makes sense to me.

Online shopping in general?   I can take it or leave it.  It’s good for when I am sending a gift long distance or when the item is quirky and not likely to be found in a brick and mortar store, but I don’t generally “shop” online.  I don’t go to websites and just look around.  I do, however, like to get packages in the mail, so when I do shop online that part is the best.  The one exception to my online shopping apathy happened last year when I was sidelined by a bad back for a couple days at the beginning of December.  I did what I fondly call “a little Percocet shopping” and ended up with a few pretty interesting gifts under the tree.  That totally didn’t make sense, but it was fun.

I like Christmas shopping.  Most people, when asked, will tell you that they hate going to the mall at Christmas, that the crowds are overwhelming and parking is a nightmare.  I don’t care about any of that; it doesn’t bother me at all.  I love the mall at Christmas.  I love how it is decorated and I love seeing the lines of children waiting to see Santa Claus.  I love the Christmas carols playing.  Sure, it’s frustrating when I can’t find the right gift for someone on my list, but that’s just a part of the deal.  This only makes sense if you love Christmas as much as I do.

Big ticket shopping, like for a house, is an entirely different matter.  I love to go into model homes and see how they’ve been decorated, but the fun ends there.  Everything else is just a big hairy hassle, from choosing carpet color to signing the paperwork to moving in.

Car shopping I won’t even discuss.  Nothing about car shopping makes sense to me.

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