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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Darn Retail – I’m not sure I can do it!

Saturday, I wanted to do something special with the kids.  The counselor was working and I didn’t want to stay at home all day missing him.
I asked them “What do you guys want to do?”
“Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall,” the boy’s begged.  Why?
Because it has House of Hoops - Nike and Footlocker’s concept store dedicated to all things basketball.
This is retail heaven to Chandler and Payson.

Problem is the store doesn’t sell anything for kids, only adult sizes.
It’s fun to look, it’s fun to dream.  Chandler wears a men’s small, so there was hope that he might find something.

Mayer cried for black tube socks, men’s size 9-11, priced at $12.00 a pair.
“But, they don’t fit you,” I told him. 
“I like socks when they come up to me knees,” he tried to convince me when something else caught his eye.
“I like these shoe laces.  I’ve always wanted red shoe laces,” he said.
“Mayer, these shoes laces are 54 inches long.  They’re not going to work for your shoes, buddy,” and I was starting to feel horrible.  Why did I bring a 6 year-old into this place? 

A few minutes into my pitiful conversation with Mayer, Chandler interrupted me.

“Mom, there’s Mike Bibby.”
Mike Bibby; a Uof A graduate and player on the 1997 NCAA Championship team and NBA player with the Miami Heat was standing at the check out counter.
My boy’s were speechless.  They watched, they spied, they wanted to see him, smell him, talk to him.

Mike Bibby!

I had my camera.
I stopped him as he walked out of the store.  I had to ask, for my boy’s sake.  Mike was so gracious, spent a few minutes with them and smiled for a photo.
This was the best part about being at the mall and I’m happy to say we left House of Hoops with minimal retail spending.  The boy's weren't sad about all the things I said they couldn't have because they met Mike Bibby.

We browsed the mall a little longer; the Disney Store, Baby Gap (that was a nightmare), Mayer asked for a pogo stick at KB toys and we spent $20 on Wetzel’s Pretzels.

Do I have the ability to shop retail?

Retail shopping is just so expensive and overwhelming and expensive (right, I already said that).
I didn't find anything great for $1.99 like I can at Goodwill. 
No bargaining like at yard sales, plus I have to pay 7.8% sales tax.
None of my money is going to charity, I'm just contributing to good old American consumerism.  
All the packaging, cheap made in China toys and clothing, what’s a girl to do?

Another thing!  At the mall my kids get a case of the gimmies, and I do too.  

Give me this, Give me that!  

I want this and I want that because everybody else wants this and everybody else wants that when the truth is I don’t need any of it. 
I don’t even know what constitutes as a legitimate purchase anymore.  
I used to like stopping into Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Z Gallery, looking around but I can’t do it anymore.  
I’m shell-shocked; I almost lose my breath at what things cost.  
I feel out of the loop, like I’m missing something that everyone else gets. 
Everyone else is buying, spending, pulling that mug of the shelf at Starbucks for $15.00 and they’re enjoying themselves. There’s always some lady with about 10 bags from stores like Crabtree &Evelyn, Sunglass Hut, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works and Papyrus.  How can she afford all that?  Did she buy a $48.00 bra?  She looks happy, but her purchases cost about as much as my car.

So, here’s my question.  Can I pull of another fabulous Christmas wrapping up other people's trash from thrift stores/yard sales and giving it to my kids?

My kids are getting older. They know more.  Last year, Chandler found a Goodwill sticker on a toy I gave his younger brother.  He called me on it.  My older kids want more.  Trust me, I’ve seen their lists and not much of it comes from Goodwill.
This is going to make for an interesting Christmas.
Linking up to:
Jenny Matlock


  1. I totally get where you are coming from. Retail prices are insane. I was thrilled to buy hollister clothes for my kids @the 50% off sale. But it's more than I like to spend.

    I'm thinking this is a craigslist christmas. People are selling and we'll get what we want cheaper than retail. My kids are asking for a bass guitar, drums, a keyboard and Xbox 360. All of which have lots of listings. Yay me.

    Good luck.

  2. I feel the exact same way about shopping retail... I just can no longer do it. Even when I go into Walmart I shudder at buying "stuff" at their prices. Yucky quality jeans for $15 when I can get $100 jeans for $4 if I'm patient and look hard enough at the thrift store. I mean, SOMEBODY has to do it, and then they need to donate it for me to buy at the thrift! ha ha But it's not going to be me anymore. I haven't even stepped foot in our shopping mall for over 6 months because I have no desire to shop there. Great minds think alike! :)

  3. Oh, I feel your pain. I hate shopping. Period. But holiday shopping is the worst. Personally, I think is the work of the devil...take your thoughts off the real meaning of the season, make you feel the pressure, squeeze it to you. Ugh. I almost refuse to go anywhere near a mall from Thanksgiving to Jan 1, if I can help it (and most of the rest of the year too!). Darn Devious Devilish retail! ;)

  4. I like shopping online so much more!

  5. This is a GREAT post Laura and so relevant to so many of us.

    My sister, Mom and I gave each other mostly thrifted stuff and new or handmade necklaces to each other.

    Sure that you have plenty of ideas on how to handle it. What about agreeing in advance to one thing or one set amount and then they decide how they'll spend it? Let us know what you do. This is coming up soon for me with my toddler!


  6. I can't shop retail either. Even the prices at Walmart shock me. My husband says Im becoming too cheap but if I can get the same quality item at a discounted price even though it isnt new why wouldnt i get it?

  7. My kids would be in heaven at House of Hoops. Glad your gang at least got to see their hero!


    My post today: Divine Nature

  8. I really know where you're coming from Laura, and I don't even thrift as well as you do. Like other comments, I can hardly swallow the prices at Walmart or Target unless it's clearanced or steeply reduced. Because of this, there is a lot of things we just don't have. I only miss those things when I go to a mall or browse a catalog - then I am reminded about how cheap and simple I am. My kids are little, but this year they asked for things I won't find at Goodwill or craislist - and they aren't too expensive, but I STILL don't want to buy them! My daughter once bragged to my husband that she got an outfit "brand new" from a STORE. It was weird that even at 7 she desired NEW with TAGs!

  9. I was glad to read this post. I always feel sick after taking my kids on a "quick" trip to Target. They always want to look at the toys. I think, what's the harm? Then, they start asking for things they would never even play with. It makes me crabby and I don't want to be that way. I love Goodwill. Your post made me feel better. I was feeling a little down after Christmas shopping today. Thanks!

  10. That's such a sweet story about Mike Bibby and your boys! And we *always* go to Wetzel's Pretzels at the mall. I can feed my kids and me all on one cup of Wetzel Bitz. I love it!

    I totally hear where you're coming from. Our Christmas this year will be a mix of new bought things, secondhand items, and homemade. I wanted to get Eve a bike for Christmas, since she doesn't have one, and I looked *everywhere* online for a cute, simple, affordable feminine yellow bike. (It doesn't exist, in case you were wondering).

    Since my "ideal" bike was not on the table, I kept my eyes peeled and what did I find at a garage sale last weekend but a beautiful, really good looking Schwinn bike for $5! Girly, but no characters. Just what I wanted. I'll just clean it up a very little bit and it will be ready to go...

    ...but I can't help thinking a little bit in the back of my mind if it's "enough". Can a garage sale bike really be her main Christmas gift???

  11. Sheesh, maybe we should just talk in person if I'm going to write a dang novel! :)

  12. I have been a Goodwill & dept. store clearance rack shopper for 17+ years. And buyer-seller on ebay for 10 yrs.Buying designer jeans @ the thrift stores , Prada purses on sale @ the Barneys Outlet store etc. So my daughter who is 7 yrs know how mama shops.It all about a mix new (sale) & high quality used thrift-ebay. I buy her lk new-used uggs on ebay, Old Navy Jeans on clearance using a coupon,New Gap & Justice tee's & hoodies on ebay.
    For Xmas she wants the American Girl Julie ($199) I purchased Julie on craigslist lk new from a collector, $60!! w/ out her box. No box needed she will hang out under the tree Xmas morning . I went on ebay & purchased some of Julie's outfits & things new in boxes for 1/2 of the retail price.I also found some American Girl books & puzzles @ Goodwill earlier in the yr all in mint condition,ready for Christmas morning!!
    I'm all about high quality...yet thrifty.

  13. *raising my hand* because I, too, am not a fan of retail any more. 6 kids, a hubby in the military, and I am a happy SAHM who shops the 90% sale after Christmas for the next year. :) This coming from a college student who spent $96 for a pair of Guess sunglasses. Bleh. My son will be getting a North Face jacket that I bought for $8 from a yard sale, my daughter is getting a $5 flat iron that is brand new (owner paid $68 on Amazon). I'm happy, they will be too. ;)

  14. I understand exactly where you are coming from. The older my lads grew, the more they were sucked into consumerism because everyone else had it! Now, the eldest is at Uni and has to budget for himself. I'm pleased to say that he is doing ok.

  15. Oh Laura, you lovely girl!

    I get what you're saying. I'm always astonished that anyone has that much money to spend, period.

    And then I'm even more amazed at how much random and unnecessary stuff people grab and grab.

    I think it's a great lesson for your kids to know how much things cost.

    I remember a friend of mine used to tell her kids she had a"X" amount to spend on their gifts. They could pick whatever they wanted.

    Her son always got one, single name brand item. Her daughter thrift shopped and bought on sale and ended up with a lot of stuff.

    I don't know if that would work.

    I'm sorry for this dilemma. As money gets tighter all over let's hope that people start thinking frugal is cool!

    Thanks for linking up!


  16. Jenny, thanx for posting the idea about telling the kids that you are wiling to spend "X" $$$$ and let them select what shall be spent on gifts of choice. My daughter's bday is in Feb. and I'm debating on a party or taking her out for a day of shopping w/ "X" to spend .