Back in the day, shopping was an all-day affair.
The girlfriends and I would meet at the mall. We wouldn’t have had much of a sense of what we were looking for, and our purses weren’t exactly bursting with cash.
Never mind. We would amble around anyway, oohing and aahing at the sweaters on the mannequins and the shoes in the windows.
We would try on a ga-zillion pairs of jeans and cords, sling purses over our shoulders and admire ourselves in the mirror.
Back in the day — and by that, I mean pre-marriage, pre-children and pre-mortgage — the girlfriends and I would meet at the mall pretty much every weekend. The morning done, we would convene in a restaurant, order fries and Cokes and applaud each other’s purchases. And when our less-than-nutritious snack was consumed, we’d go out and amble again.
I mention this because we are thick in the middle of shopping season, and because my relationship with the mall is, well, somewhat different than it used to be.
I do not spend the day there. I do not try on six pairs of cords, let alone a ga-zillion. I do not stop for fries and a Coke.
And I never amble around.
I park, walk quickly to a store that’s been identified well in advance, and hastily look for what I came for.
“Can I help you?” the clerk will ask. “Or are you just browsing?”
“Not browsing,” I will say. “I am looking for a black sweater with long sleeves, silver buttons and a V neck. Medium. And no more than $39.99.”
This is what happens when you have things going on in your life. Sure, back in the day I had things going on in my life, but let’s just say, they were different types of things.
I spent hours painting my toenails, watching American Bandstand and chatting on the phone with the girlfriends. I did not spend hours grocery shopping, vacuuming, banking, ironing, cooking, weeding and commuting to and from work.
When I go Christmas shopping — make that, when I do the Christmas shopping that can’t be done online — I take what you might call a purposeful approach.
I plot my route. I plot my budget. I take a list that says: three paperback children’s books, one dozen Titleist golf balls, one grey hoodie with navy lining and four packages of wrapping paper, gold, silver or green.
If I’m not in and out of the mall in 15 minutes, I won’t be on top of my game.
Browsing? That’s so old school, so back in the day.
Back in the day, it was all about fun. It’s now just a job to get done.