I love to shop but compared to my chum Zelda, I’m an absolute slacker. I envy her ability to find the most unusual items – ceramic dogs for guarding the fireplace, silver deco style reindeers, LCD tv’s, sheep-skinned throws, armoirs, shoe stretchers, replica hardware, shade sails, cinnamon-scented pinecones and well, just about anything. In fact, if I didn’t know Zelda I doubt I’d know that most of these things existed.
Whenever we get together it is either for a meal or to shop – or both. Our last shopping trip was to get a lamp for the guest room. A $100 item at most. So off we go to Old Town where there is a particular shop that has antiquey looking items – a sort of bananna republic of furniture. We find a parking space that she expertly squeezes into (another amazing ability Zelda has is that she can fit into any parking space, regardless of the size of the vehicle she is driving – particularly if it is within 200 feet of where she wants to go.) and after careful extraction out of the car we bounce inside – all aglow with the prospect of buying pretty things.
Now I have a little ongoing game with Zelda – after she fills her basket I guess how much she’s spent. My job as her shopping mate is to keep her to the $500 limit – a challenge to be sure.
The shop of course is filled with all the delightful items that one finds in catalogues that are beautiful and way too expensive to actually buy anything from. I am hit by a stupor of too many pretty things. But I am resolute in my duty to keep Zelda on the straight and narrow.
“Wow, look at this chair,” she exclaims.
“Lovely darling,” I murmur, “but you need a lamp for the guest room.”
“Oh yeah,” she says as she pries herself from the soft-as-butter leather chair.
She wanders to the silk drapery hanging on display and begins to inspect it with tailor-like authority. She runs her hands over the shimmery fabric and murmurs of delight bubble.
“The lamp, dear. You are looking for a lamp.”
Her brow creases since I am clearly cutting into her fun. “Well, okay,” I say – ‘but that $500 is getting ever near.”
She shakes her head – “I’m not spending $500. I’m just getting a lamp.”
We go through this routine for about an hour. Every section holds a new delight – like sparkling Christmas ornaments catch the eye of a child anticipating St. Nick. But she is resolute – just the lamp.
At long last we peruse the lamp department. This one too tall, this one to plain, that one too fat. Distress crackles between us – what if they don’t have the lamp ? I grill the sales girl who hovers like a stalker with a free camera. She has some others, all of them wrong, but it doesn’t stop her from showing them and detailing all their many benefits. I shake my head – nope. Then I spy a display model. It’s the perfect scale and design – Zelda loves it and she picks that one.
The sales girl explains that it is a display model and they haven’t any more in stock. I insist that she can sell it to Zelda (at a discount of course, because after all, it is a display model.). The sales girl agrees, though none too happily. After much discussion about proper shades, we pick one.
It looked good, Zelda was going to spend a mere $80 and we were going to be out the door in no time flat. Except that they had to rummage in the stock room for the shade and we had to wait.
Never leave Zelda idle in a store full of beautiful things. I mean, never. So we wandered…. Uh-oh, there is the bathroom fixture department and she could use that glass shelf, and there are those special sponges she can never find, better buy all of the ones they have in stock since you never know when you might find them again, and drawer pulls are a sudden must have item, hook knobs, and off we go.
By the time the lamp and shade were brought to the check out counter, Zelda had several other items to add. As the delerious sales girl added it up I said, “$500.”
Zelda shook her head. “Nah.”
“That will be $478.39,” the sales girl almost leapt out of her skin.
Zelda forked over her credit card and gave me a reproachful look.
I laughed with delight, since I love to be right.
There are many things in the world of which I am uncertain, but one thing I know for sure is that when Zelda goes shopping it’s a $500 adventure.