It’s the day after Thanksgiving and what’s a body to do? Go shopping! But wait a minute. I hate shopping, so why am I crawling out of bed at 6:00 AM, throwing my clothes on in the dark while my husband is snoring away? For Pete’s sake, it’s still dark outside and the frost is heavy on the car windows. As I grab a quick cup of coffee and head out the door, I’m still wondering just what on earth I’m doing. A quick check of the time in the car tells me I’m already nine minutes late as I pull up to mom’s house. A quick decision made – my car is already warm, I’ll drive. Twelve minutes late as I pull up to Shiloh’s house. A good sign, her lights are on and she’s waiting at the door. Shiloh dives into the back seat, buckles up, and away we go. A quick check of the gas gauge and we are off. Everyone settles in with a cup of coffee and a warm muffin, compliments of mom. A quick glance at Wal-Mart as we drive by. The parking lot is full and it’s only 6:50 AM. Another decision made. Wal-Mart will not be our first stop.
As I enter the interstate and set the cruise, we begin to discuss our overall Game Plan. We have 35 minutes to discuss our plan of attack. Michael’s will be our first stop. We have 30 minutes after we arrive to make our purchases and qualify for 50% off one item. I’m thinking to myself, this is totally nuts. We arrive and our Holiday Shopping has officially begun. Mom makes the first shopping decision of the day and grabs my car keys and the cart and secures her place in line politely telling me to continue shopping. This is my first hint I’m not supposed to see what’s in the cart. Shiloh and I continue browsing the shop. It’s now that I realize I don’t get out often enough. Shiloh tells me she gets out too often. She knows where everything is. Mom is back with her purchases secured in the trunk of my car. A final decision made by Shiloh, and she checks out – 40% off one item for her.
Next stop, Office Max for free shopping. We made this stop last year. Rebates on blank CD’s for Ronnie. After rebates, total cost “free.” Previously Ron had informed me he wanted the same amount disks that we bought him last year – 300. Decisions, decisions. Do we buy the 100 packs for free, or do we buy the 200 packs for $2.99? Discussion followed by decision. We buy them both. It’s a heck of a good deal. Let’s not forget the free jewel cases while we are at it. As we snag the only remaining two packs of 100, there’s a sense of disappointment. My poor dear husband will only get 700 disks. He has to share 100 with my brother Ryan. Purchases made, rebates checked and in the car. The first of our “free” purchases has been made.
A quick refill of the coffee cups and we are off to Fred Meyers. Parking. Oh dear, this is not looking good. I think we’ll have to park in Nebraska, but mom spies an empty spot. We snag a parking spot in Ohio. I zip the car in, and we are off again to do more shopping. As we walk in the door, I tip my hat to Freddy’s, they have free coffee and donuts. Now that’s a class act by a store. A quick grab of a donut, and we are off shopping. They have a great 50% off sale on luggage – my Christmas present from my husband. Discussion over luggage. Decision made to check Costco before we buy. Shiloh does some quick shopping while I find furnace filters. Check out and head to the car. Next stop, Costco where we do some quick shopping, but wait, Ace Hardware is on the way. A quick stop here, and Shiloh finds chalkboard paint. We are back on the road again to Costco. Parking is not so bad here, we get fairly close. I find a great old movie just released on DVD, “Roman Holiday.” Shiloh strikes out on finding her book she was after. A quick check of the price on DVD/VHS players and luggage and we discover Freddy’s has the better deal. Piling back into the car, it’s back to Freddy’s. Their sale only lasts six hours. Not to fear, we have an hour to spare, or so we think.
As we arrive in the store, grabbing another quick donut, we hear a voice over the loud speaker, “Shoppers, only 10 minutes left of our 6-hour sale.” Panic sets in! We have to spend $100 to get a free turkey. Mom’s purchase of my luggage from my husband is $25 shy of the $100 mark. Quick decision, purchase re-inking supplies for Shiloh and my luggage and that will bring us up to $100. Now to find the coupon for the free turkeys. With desperation setting in, we realize the coupon is in the car. Definitely not enough time to run back out to the car and back in to the store. A quick check in the front entrance and we find the coupons. Mom and Shiloh are off to find the free turkeys, while I pick out my luggage. I’m in charge of the cart with the DVD/VHS player, the ink, toting the luggage behind me and securing a place in line. A quick check of my watch, and we are cutting it close. Only four minutes remain. Standing in line with other shoppers, we discuss the free turkeys. I begin letting people check out in front of me. Mom and Shiloh are still in search of the turkeys. I look up, and here they come, turkeys in tow. I breathe a sigh of relief as we begin to check out. More “free shopping” done.
Now the tricky part, just where are we going to put this stuff. The trunk is already near full. Decision made – Shiloh will have to ride with the luggage. The turkeys find a spot in the trunk next to the DVD/VHS player. Pulling out of our parking space presents our first of four near hits of the day. Some gal in an old beat up truck decides to back up without looking. Some quick thinking on my part, I slam the car back in drive and step first on the gas, then slam on the brakes as I pull back into my parking spot. Yep, the seat belts lock up for the first time today. A slight little adrenalin rush for all of us, a deep breath, and we are off again.
We have more shopping to do, but wait. We are running out of steam. Another decision, lunch is now a priority. After a delightful stop for lunch and more coffee, we are back in the car and on the road again. Holiday shopping is not for the timid or weak of heart. Next stop, Shopco, because they have a bathroom and also some “free shopping” on our list, which by now, is getting narrower. We snag a “free” little tool kit for Jessa, and spy a 50% off sale on flannel sheets. With dread in my voice, I tell mom my husband would love her forever if she bought him flannel sheets. I personally can’t stand them. I tell my husband it’s like going camping when I crawl into bed with flannel sheets. We’ve reached an agreement in our house – six months with cotton sheets, six months with flannel sheets. There has to be some compromises in every marriage.
As we check out, we hit our first snag of the day. Shiloh has picked out the only pair of boots for Jessa that do not have a scanner tag in them. The young kid checking us out has to describe these boots on the phone, while someone else goes to find a pair just like them. As we let others check out in front of us, shoppers in the line are getting wise. They begin to drift off to other lines with disgusted looks on their faces. Finally we see someone coming with a box of boots identical to Shiloh’s purchase. Boots bought, another trip out to the car, and back through Shopco to the mall. Next stop, Victoria’s Secret for a bra for Shiloh. While waiting on Shiloh, I decide to try out every sample of hand lotion they have. I soon discover they were not made to be worn all at the same time. Mom and I discuss a certain item of clothing and try to decide if it’s for the upper body or the lower body. We decide it’s for the inbetween, and definitely not for either one of us. Purchase made, back to the car for more shopping. Barnes and Noble will be our last stop. Shiloh finds her book she’s after and back in the car for the trip home. As we get on the interstate, Shiloh announces she would like to stop at Wal-Mart when we get home, then promptly takes a “Power Nap.” Somehow I don’t think that was quite fair.
Back at home, we pull into Wal-Mart. A quick scan of the parking, and we find a space close to the entrance. This place is a zoo, but with determination in our steps, we secure our final purchases of the day. On the short ride home, I ask mom why haven’t we done this before. We’ve all had a good time, and secured some fun Christmas presents. She tells me, because I haven’t been here. I realize she’s right. I lived away from home for 21 years. That’s a lot of Holiday Shopping together we’ve missed out on.
Now for the short ride home and unloading. Seven trips back out to the car and the kitchen counters are loaded with shopping bags. Did we really do that much shopping today? Now for the fun part, filling out all those rebate forms. Haul everything downstairs and into the sewing room. Find the envelopes and start cutting UPC codes and filling out forms. When we get the rebate checks, it will be like Christmas again. Wrapping paper begins to fly all over the room. I’m in charge of finding boxes for everything. Thank heavens mom and dad have a “box fetish” and save boxes all year long.
Shiloh is the Head Wrapper, with mom close on her heals. It’s terribly warm downstairs, and mom begins to wrap presents dressed only in her underwear. Shiloh and I tough it out. A fight begins between the two of them. Mom has stolen Shiloh’s scissors. I’m laughing, as mom does that to me all the time when we are quilting. I keep telling her I’m going to buy her 100 pairs of scissors for Christmas. She knows I never will; I’m too cheap. Presents begin to fill empty tubs and soon, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, everywhere you look.” So you ask, just what have we been up to, Holiday Shopping of course!
--- Deb Hopkins