Shopping addict? Or not? (File photo)

COLUMN: Fear and loathing at the mall: force shopping

Unlike many of my peers, I don’t think about shopping all that much.

I’m a recycler, reducer, re-user at heart so I tend to use everything until it breaks or wears out.

Much to my dismay, there are times when I can no longer avoid going shopping.

Just a few weeks ago, I noticed after my hour-long power walk that my feet seemed a bit sore.

When I removed my trusty, broken-in ‘Old Faithful’ runners, I noticed they were looking a little bald on the bottom. Hmmm, I knew what this meant. The dreaded trip to the mall.

“This will be easy,” I told myself.

Gathering every ounce of determination I set out for my least favourite place on earth. The mall.

I packed up my resolve, took a deep breath and found my way to the sports store. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bright, young clerk stocking shelves when I arrived.

I was wearing my Old Faithfuls and as I approached her, I pointed down to my toes.

“Excuse me, I’m wondering if you might have a newer version of these runners?” I asked.

She scratched her head and said “Wow, those are relics. They must be let’s see, five years old or more!”

She followed this with, “If you can hand me one, I’ll see what we have that’s along the same lines.”

Out she came with several shoe boxes and I proceeded to try on a variety of runners that were nothing like my Old Faithfuls, none of which felt nearly as comfortable.

When I asked for any others she might have in stock, she pointed to a pair of neon orange beauties, fairly glowing on the shelf.

I had begun to perspire lightly and my neck started to twitch. “Neon Orange, really?”

She disappeared and popped right back with said monstrosities in hand. “Just try them, she said. I think they’ll fit you perfectly and look, on sale today for just $180.”

I put the shoes on and sure enough, they did fit but I looked as though I had strapped on two life jackets on my feet. There was no way I was walking around in those.

“Umm, these are a bit outside of my budget, I said. Could you find me something that might cost a little less?”

With a sigh, she turned silently and trudged to the back room. She was gone for quite a while so I thought I’d been abandoned. I started to lace my Old Faithfuls back on my feet when I heard a rustling beside me.

There she was, face beaming, holding a rather battered shoe box.

“Look!” she proclaimed. I found these way at the back of the old stock shelf.”

I laced them on only to find they fit perfectly. Not only the right size, they were a modest grey colour and were in my price range. I could have hugged her.

Doing a quick dance around the bench, I said, “These will do fine. Thank you.”

Quickly, quickly, I gathered my Old Faithfuls, ran to the cashier, paid for the new shoes and made for the parking lot. When I got home, I sat my Old Faithfuls by the door, just to see them there one last time.

I had survived the epic shoe shop once more.

If you are not a shopping a fanatic (or if you are) you can find these books at the library: Spent: memoirs of a shopping addict, by Avis Cardella, The Better World Shopping Guide, by Ellis Jones or My Year of Buying Nothing, by Lee Simpson.

Sue Kline is the community librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and a reluctant shopper.

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