Thursday, October 07, 2004

Local holiday

Is there any occasion that excites an area's populace--especially the more monetarily challenged members of the populace--more than the opening of the first Goodwill store?

We'd been poking our heads in the door for weeks. It was huge and I could see racks and racks of shoes, clothes, and housewares. They were untouched. They were not picked over. "October 7th," the employees said to us. "It's our grand opening. Tell your friends!"

Like hell we'd tell our friends. Why should we invite competition? No, we and we alone were going to show up at 9 AM sharp, the moment the new thrift store opened, and ransack the place.

Things don't always go according to plan. At 7:30 this morning I brought a cup of coffee to the still-sleeping s.o. He grunted at me and rolled over, covering his eyes with the pillow. I gently asked him if he wanted some coffee. "I'm not going," he moaned. (We're night people. It was a miracle I was up, frankly.)

So no company on this trip. Okay, I thought, I'll live. I fed and walked the dogs, combed my hair, slugged down the coffee (it was mine now!), got in the car, and drove. On my way, I formulated a plan. I've learned, from occasionally visiting sample sales and the like, to have a coherent strategy for potentially hectic retail events. Mine went like this:

(1) Grab a cart. (These are referred to as "buggies" in the south, but I staunchly refuse to use that ridiculous word.)

(2) Dart directly to shoe rack. Grab all likely-looking shoes in my size.

(3) Without trying on shoes, wheel cart to coat and jacket section. Look for a fall jacket.

(4) Try on shoes.

(5) Cruise housewares, books, and blouses.

I arrived at 8:57 AM. The parking lot was completely jammed with cars. People were already streaming in the door. Argh! What ever happened to opening the doors when you say you will? Maybe my car clock is slow.

I ran in and followed my plan to the letter. The only hitch was, by the time I was satisfied, the check-out lines were never-ending. There were five of them and they stretched most of the length of the store, winding between the racks and sometimes even forking. It took all my interviewing skills to ascertain where the ends of the lines were. I decided to shop some more, hoping that the lines would die down. This proved to be a bad idea, because the lines didn't get any smaller and suddenly we heard talk of the credit-card machines not working. Eventually the machines were working again, sort of.

I gave up and chose a line. I stood in it for 50 minutes. The blouses, shorts, and sweaters on the racks near me stopped being interesting after the tenth perusal. But it was worth it in the end. Here's what I got:

• 2 pairs high-heeled black shoes with closed toes; one pointy, one rounded

• 1 pair pointy tan mules

• 1 pair pink suede buckled flats

(If you haven't figured it out yet, I adore shoes in an almost Carrie Bradshaw-like way.)

• 1 black suede shirt-jacket

• 1 very flattering sheerish black blouse

• 1 fluffy white scarf thing that the s.o. and I are referring to as "the Thneed"

• 2 books for the s.o. to sell in his eBay business

• 1 really good-looking pan-Asian cookbook

• 1 of those fish-shaped grilling basket thingies that you clamp a fish into and grill it over a fire

A success, I'd say.

After that, I got some lunch (I was starving, as you can imagine, because I didn't have breakfast) and then stopped by Michael's Crafts to get nice frames for four of our posters. The one I'm most looking forward to putting up is a vintage New Order poster (the one with the vibrantly blue flower on it--I'm sure you can picture it if you were into them at the time) that is going to be the visual focal point of our already very blue kitchen. I do like decorating--just not sanding and painting!