Slow shopping

The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.
~Marcelene Cox

I went shopping on Sunday. Most people wouldn’t call it shopping, though. I looked. Browsed. Nosed about. Bothered the sales associates. Whatever you want to call it.

I keep a running list in my head of things I eventually want to get. A shower curtain. A fitted sheet for the bed. A pillow. A trash can. A rear-mounted rack for the bicycle. Cat furniture. None of these are imperative. The shower curtain and fitted sheet are on their way out, both have small holes that will likely grow and the shower curtain will probably not be hanging in a year. The others are just useful things that I don’t need that would never the less be nice to have.

So on Sunday I checked out a few stores for these items. Mostly the fitted sheet and the shower curtain. I found a couple on clearance racks, but the prices were still out of my current budget. I priced things and made mental notes. Looked at the trash cans at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The trash can I own (the one you can see in this post) is too large for me now, not to mention too large for my kitchen. I don’t make a lot of trash anymore, and I’ve run out of the trash bags that fit it. In fact, I’m down to the last bag I have that will fit in that can at all. So I’d decided that I wanted one that was small enough that I could use grocery bags instead of kitchen trash bags. That way I could put food scraps in it if I was feeling lazy and I wouldn’t have to worry about either stinking up the apartment for a week or throwing a way a bag of trash that was only half-full. It wouldn’t take up much space and I wouldn’t have to buy trash bags. I needed one with a lid to keep the cats out. Stainless steel, at least on the outside, would be a plus. All the trash cans I saw that I liked were priced from $20 to $50+. Waaaaaaay out of my price range.

So on Sunday after I completed my browsing, I left to check Goodwill for the aforementioned items. Saw a shower curtain, brand-new, for five bucks. I didn’t have the money to actually spend, and it wasn’t quite a color I wanted. I decided to pass. None of the fitted sheets would go on my queen-sized bed. I wandered to the back of the store to check the fabric section there. Nope, still nothing. But then I saw it.

A trash can. The size I wanted. Metal, with a removable plastic insert. A lid with a step-pedal that worked. Not plain stainless, but a powder blue finish reminiscent of my old pickup truck. Pretty much exactly what I wanted. There was even an old Target sticker on the bottom that indicated it was still fairly new. The price? Five bucks.

I teetered for a bit. I didn’t actually have five bucks to spend this week. But it was exactly what I was looking for, at a good price, used. I didn’t normally find trash cans like this at Goodwill. I grabbed it and made a mad dash for the check out.

Now the old plastic trash can will be cleaned up and taken to Goodwill for someone else to grab.

And this is pretty much how I shop. I decide what I want, look around. Look around some more. Check Goodwill. Check the other Goodwill. Wait around a few weeks. Do it again. One day I find an item that’s just about perfect at a good price, and I grab it. I don’t need anything, so it doesn’t hurt to wait and I end up saving myself money in the process. And by the time you’ve looked around that much, you know pretty much what you’re willing to settle for and what you’re not going to settle for. You don’t get home with your item and then discover it’s too big or too small or not the right color because you’ve thought about it for a while. And you don’t find yourself gypped on the price because you know what a good deal is.

And if you’ve been shopping that long for something, you know you want it. You know it’s not just some short-lived desire or quick fix.

The only question for me was…how the hell do I get a trash can home on my bicycle? That was what moved a rear-mounted cargo rack for the bike from the “possibly want” list to the “want eventually” list. Biking around for two and a half miles with a small trash can swinging precariously from the handlebars makes you realize the shortcomings of backpacks.

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2 Responses to “Slow shopping”

  1. I may very well keep the local Goodwill chain in business all by myself!

  2. You’re as slow a shopper as I am. I maybe spend less time in the stores but you win for being cheaper!

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