I’m a Mom Who Hates to Shop, Raising Teenage Girls Who LOVE It!


Shopping, for some people, is a favorite pastime sport, a form of entertainment. I hate shopping. To put it into perspective just how much I hate shopping, let me say this: I would rather have a colonoscopy than go to the mall. Are you beginning to understand how much I dislike it? My ex-husband always said that I was a dream wife in the sense that I never went shopping without a purpose. If I went into a store, you can bet I would be in and out within 10 minutes with my purchase in hand.

When I had my children I began to warm up to the idea of shopping. Some days it was a great excuse just to get a baby and toddler out of the house, and I confess that some of the baby stores were hard to stay away from. I actually got to where I enjoyed walking into some of the children’s stores and looking around. The sound of the playful children’s songs playing over the speakers soothed the baby and got my toddler clapping along. The salespeople seemed to know exactly what to say to make me feel like I had the cutest baby in the world. I couldn’t help but walk around and come out with a lot of unnecessary items. What was I thinking when I bought my daughter a pair of red, sparkly Dorothy shoes when she couldn’t even walk? And that adorable hat that “completed” the outfit for my nine month old never even stayed on his head. He pulled it off and sucked on it instead.

As my family grew, so did the amount of time I spent in the stores. I was really into making them match and it would take me hours to find six little outfits that all went together. One morning, rushed to get the kids ready for church in their matching outfits, I put my son in his sister’s dress, got everyone’s outfits mixed up and decided at that point to just let each child become their own little person. Since my matching obsession was over, so were my lengthy shopping trips. I reverted to my purposeful shopping trips–only going into a store with a plan to grab what I needed and get out.

That is, until my daughters became teenagers. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the “I hate to shop” gene from me and love going to the mall. Since I didn’t have a colonoscopy scheduled and it was my daughter’s birthday, I had no excuse not to take her to the mall.

What an experience that was. The store she wanted to go to has a façade built around the entrance–she says it makes the store look cool, I think it makes it look expensive. We are greeted at the door by a beautiful salesperson. I think she said hello but I am not sure because the music was so loud I couldn’t hear her. In every area of the store we walked through, there was always someone there offering to help us. The thing is, they all looked the same. They were like Stepford salespeople. They all looked like they just stepped out of an ad in GQ magazine. They were cool, young, and thin. They all had perfect hair, perfect teeth, and not a single blemish anywhere on their faces. I found myself walking around with my hand over my cheek to cover a pimple that had popped up earlier that day. (Yes, I’m forty and still get the occasional zit. Hey, it keeps me feeling young!)

I know that I am getting old, but since when did they start to play music so loud in stores? It was so loud that within minutes my head was pounding. How can the employees listen to this and not go deaf? I can’t hear a word coming out of the Stepford salesperson’s mouth, but apparently my daughter can because she is being talked into trying on a million pairs of “fabulous” jeans. When she had narrowed it down to two pairs, she brought them to me. Thank goodness, because I am literally at the point where I cannot take anymore of the loud music. I glance at the price tag and tell her there is no way I am spending that much for a pair of jeans. I see her mouth begin to move. There are words coming out of her mouth. The best part is that because of the music I can’t hear a single thing she is saying. Maybe shopping isn’t that bad after all.

Erma Bombeck once said that "Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase." Not for this woman. I am very content sitting on the sidelines of this sport!



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