Retail Panic for Some Means Job Security for Others

I’m not proud of myself for loading up a shopping cart and then in some kind of retail panic, leaving it in the aisle and fleeing the store. Well, maybe I am a little. 


It was about the most impulsive (repulsive perhaps) thing I’ve done in some time. And it’s all because despite how far I’ve come, I’m still me. And I just happened to be in the area. 

I don’t normally travel in the direction of the largest fabric store in the universe. But I did and there I was, only a few short blocks from the entrance. So I stopped in to just … uh, … look around.

Potential. That’s what I saw. Aisle after aisle of potential gifts, quilts, tablescapes, sweaters, hats, decorator pillows, blankets, pure joy.

There were several bargains that quite frankly one should never pass up. And that is the ONLY reason I found a shopping cart. I mean come on … my favorite brand of flannel—the really good stuff—BOGO (that’s buy-one-get-one-free for you novices)? And flannel-backed satin in the perfect shade of Christmas red for $4.59 a yard? And the most adorable fleece for next to nothing!

I made my way to the cutting table when I noticed something new: A take-a-number machine. Hate those things. But now I’m stuck, so I plucked 73 from its little mouth and pulled back to notice Now Serving 61. 

Patience is not one of my finer qualities. I could no more have stood there and waited through 12 servings for my turn, than do backflips while performing a double cast-on (a little knitting lingo and oh, by the way, they have yarn, too). 

So I decided to see if I’d missed any other bargains. I had. By the time they called for number 68, I was in a cold sweat.

What am I doing?! In my cart, I have 12 bolts of gorgeous fabric, 8 skeins of to-die-for yarn, 18 quality zippers and enough thread to choke a goat. And for what? At home, I have more fabric, yarn, and notions than the legal limit. I have no place to put any of this. I don’t need more because I have too much already. 

It was as if my entire audience of readers (somewhere north of a million when we consider online together with those of you who meet up with me in your local newspapers) were staring at me. And that is when I did the unthinkable. 

I bolted for the door. Somehow, I found the car and sped home with my heart racing the way one’s heart races after experiencing a close call.

I do regret leaving that cart for some clerk to re-shelve its contents. However, given the condition of the store, I would suggest I’m not the first case of textile overload they have ever had to deal with. 

And considering the mountain behind the cutting table, re-shelving bolts of fabric offers full-time employment for several people. I prefer to think that my little escapade provided job security for someone.

I am grateful that in the end, I reaffirmed something I’ve learned through the years but need to be reminded of often: Even when it feels as if I have no choice but to respond impulsively, I do have a choice. I can always take a deep breath and walk away. Or run.

First published Everyday Cheapskate: 4-30-19

PREVIOUSLY: 13 Ways to Save Money Eating Out at Restaurants

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20 replies
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  1. Bonnie Colcher
    Bonnie Colcher says:

    The best and hardest thing I did was downsize and move a year ago. I really have no room for anything new. I even bring back very little when I travel, which is not my usual MO.

  2. jimijean
    jimijean says:

    Bless your heart! And not “Texas Style” either. I’ve said since I weave, knit, spin, cane, I’ll not get involved with making lace, tatting, hooking rugs, embroidery, etc., etc. Because, if I do, I’ve gotta have a CLONE and that stops me every time. Plus I’ve got one of those Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy places already.

    • kddomingue
      kddomingue says:

      I hear you! Between the sewing/quilting/upholstery stash, the handwork stash, the art stash and the crochet stash…..well, I too have a Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. And my husband has one…..and my son has one…..and my granddaughter is well on her way to a fairly impressive one. We’d have to buy a bigger house/shop/garage and we’d all have to have clones, lol! I only venture into a store that carries stash items if one of us lacks a particular thing that none of us has in any of our stashes. And I strive to go in like I have blinders on and can see that item and only that item….a seek, find, acquire and then run like the devil’s after me mission!

  3. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    I needed a little laugh and reminder this morning. It is the reason it is so hard for me to go near a flea market of vintage shabby chic store. I have to be in a “I’m just looking for ideas” mode or I must avoid it completely.

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Remove all options except for the one to just look for ideas: Arrive with no cash, plastic or checkbook. It’s hard, I know—a hardcore approach. The kind I need to keep my inner whiny impulsive self quiet.

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