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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. 

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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


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