I'm not really much of a shopper, I insist.And you know, I say these things often enough that I sometimes start to believe them myself.
Shopping is just not my thing.
I'd rather be making something, or spending time outside.
You know, planting daisies or hiking in the wild. Nothing so pedestrian and consumeristic as shopping for this pure soul.
But every now and then, reality comes along and slaps me in the face.
I'll be the first to admit that I deserve it.
^ My latest comeuppance occurred this week, when I decided on an impromptu trip to University Village. A super high-end outdoor shopping mall in Seattle, the parking lots here are full of Beemers and sidewalks jammed with blue-blooded boomer ladies stepping around the ever-present puddles in their always-exquisite shoes.
To complete that picture, imagine me with my '99 Toyota Sienna and four-year-old Target combat boots.
I'm not so much the U Village type.
But here's the thing. U Village is the home of the Amazon's new brick-and-mortar bookstore, and I've been meaning to going to check it out ever since it opened last month. And with a secondary mission of picking up a wedding gift at the nearby Crate & Barrel, my fourth-born and I decided to rub shoulders with the Real Housewives of Seattle and venture into the fray.
Okay. The bookstore was amazing. I confess that I love all bookstores, but the Amazon experience was delicious and I highly recommend. We drooled over several hundred books, deliberating and agonizing and wanting to take them all. In the end, we chose a handful for gifts, disciplining ourselves to keep the total purchase price within reason, and savored every satisfying moment of the experience.
^ Next stop was Crate & Barrel, a swanky housewares store that I used to frequent back in the double-income days before kids, when discretionary spending was part of my life. Though I have occasionally picked up a few things online, I haven't set foot in one of their stores in decades, and as soon as I stepped inside, I remembered why.
Everything they sell is amazing. That's why.
In someone's world, fifty four dollars is not too much to pay in order to open a can of refried beans in style, but my pocketbook would not allow me to make that leap.
Still, our purchases were magical and when we walked out of the store with our oversize iconic Crate & Barrel shopping bag, we were glowing with pleasure.
^ Our third and final stop brought us here.
The magical land of Apple.
I have fallen madly in love with every Apple store into which I have ever walked - which is actually quite a few - but this.
THIS store is the Nirvana of Apple stores.
The floor space is huge, easily double most of the other Apple stores I've visited.
Flooded with natural light, the front half of the store is a wide open expanse of flat tables, easily twice as roomy as most other Apple stores, and lushly decorated with the usual dizzying array of desktops, tablets and handheld products.
Though the store was jammed with dozens of people, at least half of them were staff, jauntily dressed in holiday red t-shirts, all happily chattering away with customers. People were buying left and right, and the mood in the store was downright joyful.
We made our way back to the accessory racks where my daughter began to pick out a new charging cord. Effortlessly, we found the type she needed, available in multiple lengths. As she debated her options, a red-shirted woman holding an iPad offered a friendly hello and asked if we were finding what we needed.
Well. I need everything in your entire store. So I guess that's a yes.
Within thirty seconds, my daughter decided on the one-meter cord - because really, an extra ten dollars for the two-meter cord is an extravagance in her budget - and completed the paperless transaction. Sad to wrap up our business so quickly, we meandered slowly back up through the tables toward the door, soaking up the festive energy and intoxicating scent of expensive gadgets. By the time we stepped outside, I was dying to buy something - anything! - and dangerously close to spending the months's grocery budget just to indulge myself.
* * * * *
As we quietly walked back through the rain to my trusty mini-van, windows fogged up by Ranger's warm breath as he napped inside, I realized the truth about me and shopping.
It's not that I don't like to shop.
The reality is that I LOVE shopping, especially for elegant, expensive, and well-made things.
What I don't like to do is pay for them.