Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why I Shop Alone

We got our tax return back the other day, thanks Federal Government.

So besides the various bills that need to be paid, I decided we needed to get a few things we've been putting on hold for awhile. Mini Me and I got in the not-so-mini-van and headed for our local mall.

(Note: I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. Calling where we go a "mall" is like calling Lake Michigan an ocean. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I know my malls. And frankly, 40 stores at an outlet center hardly constitutes the word "mall.")

Things on our list: clothes for MM, shoes for all the kids, a new suit for Disgruntled Husband, and maybe something for me.

When I was pregnant with MM and found out she was a girl, I was so enamored with the thought of buying her cute little clothes. After two boys (and let's be honest here, a rack-and-a-half of boy clothes next to the aisles of girl clothes is frustrating), it was going to be nice to pick out something girly and adorable for my daughter to wear.

And it is. If I shop alone.

MM will be 4 in May, yet somehow it's like she's 14. When we hit the first store, all she wanted were shoes there. And the shoes out at the end of February? Flip flops and sandals...in Wisconsin. (Dear Fashion Industry, I'm not sure what the weather is where you are, but if I see warm-weather clothes in a store with snow on their sidewalks,  you better be giving away a free vacation with every purchase.)

So the shoes were a no. And so was the three swimsuits she wanted in the cart. And the hand-wash only, white cardigan sweater with pearl buttons, that cost more than the entire cost of my shopping trip. Don't get me started on how many dresses she told me she needed.

Why does this happen? Is it nature? Because I may be a female, but I don't shop like that. First of all, I can pretty much count on one hand the times my daughter has been shopping with me when I've been shopping for myself. Apparently, I am without the girly gene, but my daughter is making up for my loss.

Store No.2: More shoes. More adorable, yet short-sleeved and expensive dresses. We leave with nothing, even though MM is begging for pony-tail holders with sparkly ribbon on them.

The only way my daughter will get to shop here is with a ski mask and a gun.

I look across the hall at the Gymboree. Hell to-the NO. I'm lucky that she can't read yet, and also, that she's never been in a Gymboree. It was opened for people with platinum cards, or grandmothers. Yes, their adorable sky blue dress came with knickers, and you could buy the matching shoes, tights, headband and purse. But I chose to make a house payment instead.

(Edited to say: I love Gymboree, don't get me wrong. Cute clothes. Send them to us. Pass them down to us. Having a platinum card is a good thing...I just don't have one. If I ever get a platinum card, it will involve a grocery store frequent shopper card and can of silver spray paint.)

Store No. 3: Stride Rite. Larry Potter and Hoover have been in boots all winter, but both their gym shoes "hurt" now, which means it's time to pay the Piper. Yes, I shoe-shopped for my boys without them being there. If the shoes don't fit, I can take them back and get a different size the next day, again without them. (They all fit.)

So, MM and I have shoes for the boys. And then the whining starts.

"Mommmmmmy I neeeeeed new shooooooes tooooooo."

I give in, because I figure she could probably use a pair too.

FORTY-FIVE minutes later, we were at the check-out.

(This is not an exaggeration. Forty-five minutes waiting on a 3 1/2 year-old to choose a pair of shoes was absolutely ridiculous. I don't take that long for myself. And I have a bunion. I could have just told her no and left, but I still had to buy the boys shoes, and I didn't want to juggle shoe boxes and a screaming girl. Point goes to MM.)

Thankfully, her shoes were on sale. And no, they weren't flip-flops.


  1. I can feel your pain. I have three girls - 3, 6, & 8. They all have different fashion ideas. The oldest HATES to shop but never likes anything I pick out by myself. I was just thinking about (and dreading)the spring shopping that will soon be necessary!~

  2. I use to avoid Gymboree because it seemed so expensive but I realized if you shop the sale rack and use the 20% coupons in Parents magazine it is generally cheaper then a lot of other children's stores. Just a thought...just started shopping there in the last year. Oh they also have a tv with cartoons going all the time...big plus with 2 kids with you!!

  3. I think MM needs to go to American Girl Place in Chicago. I will be sure to "accidentally" leave a catalog behind for her to browse.