I hate shopping. I have always hated shopping. This could be because my mother and sister love shopping. I would come home from school and my mom and sister would be at the mall. They could shop all day and all night. My mom has gotten locked into malls around the country. My dad would be with my brother and me, in the car, waiting for them at the designated location and we would actually see all of the lights go out inside the store. Where was my mom? There were no cell phones to call her. So we would just sit in the car and wait. And wait. An hour or so later, there would be my mom and sister, weighted down by various sized shopping bags, escorted by mall security, coming from the other direction. “We didn’t realize how late it was,” they would explain. My dad would grumble something and off we would go. Good times.
Going shopping with my mom, when I absolutely had to, was an exercise in extreme patience on my mother’s part (perhaps if I had exercised more, shopping would not have been such a challenge. I blame it on all of the fudge my dad, brother, and I would eat in the car while waiting for my mom who was locked in the mall.) It was a nightmare. There was screaming and yelling and hair pulling. I still remember reading the sign in the dressing room that said, “These rooms are being monitored to prevent shoplifting” and I would speak to the mirror saying, “Please get me out of here!!” hoping the security person on the other side was 1. female, and 2.willing to save me from the whole ordeal.
But with all of the things I could say about my mom, she has the patience of a saint. She would bring me things to try on until I had a new wardrobe. This was not an easy feat.
Fast forward to today (well, not actually today, it was last week) and here I am, the mother of three boys, who have little to no interest in shopping. It is on a strictly need-to-buy basis only. Son #2 has been wearing dress pants that were handed down to him from someone in town (yes, my children wear hand-me-downs, and I am proud to admit it.) Anyway, said pants have developed rips in the hems, by the pockets; basically, they are falling apart. Son #2 keeps insisting he does not need new pants. He is fine looking like a homeless man.
“Please,” I beg, “let me buy you some new pants!” Even his father, the man who is still mourning the loss of Syms and the $50 suit, admitted the poor kid needed pants. “Fine,” son #2 said. “You can buy me pants, but I am not going with you.” Well, there was a college basketball game on, totally understandable why he didn’t want to go shopping (to be read with heavy sarcastic overtones.)
So off I went to the mall with the ripped pants. I felt like Goldilocks because at store number one, the pants were too expensive, at store number two, the pants were too cheap looking, but at store number three, the pants were just right. And I could open a charge and get an additional 20% off! (Still not Syms, but you do what you can.)
You might be wondering how I knew what size to buy since I had no son with me to try the pants on (you probably were not wondering that, but I will tell you anyway). Well, I would go from pair to pair and hold up the ripped pants to the new pants and see how they lined up. The salesman told me that he had never seen anyone do this before. He wanted to know why I didn’t insist my child come with me (I did not tell him why). And though I find it hard to believe that no mother has ever done what I was doing, I am proud to say that son #2 now has a brand new pair of pants—actually a whole new suit. He looks adorable in it and there was no screaming, yelling or hair pulling. And the team he stayed home to watch won…(I actually have no idea if this is true, I just needed an ending.)
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow