When I was a little girl, my grandfather always joked that my allowance was burning a hole in my pocket. Thankfully, for me and my pants, a trip to the mall or the gift shop downtown usually would extinguish the fire.
As a grown-up, the burning passion with which I hate shopping in a crowd is almost as powerful. And this time of year, a weekend trip to Target, Marden’s or the mall only serves to fan the flames.
Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping almost as much as I love my relatives. Sometimes, depending on the day and my father’s mood, more so. But I must admit, the idea of Black Friday freaks me out — for the record, I was not in line at 4 a.m. yesterday, though I am in awe of those who were. Try as I did to avoid the rush, I had my very own black Sunday last week.
It all started the day before; if you recall, last Saturday was snowy and ridiculously cold, and it was also farmers market day. I bundled up in my parka, threw on a hat and grabbed my favorite cashmere gloves, which I bought on clearance at TJ’s a few years back. But when I went to put on said gloves, there was a gaping hole in the thumb. Great for hitchhiking. Not so great for warmth.
My mind immediately flashed back to Belfast, several weeks before, when I opted not to buy a beautiful pair of gloves at Coyote Moon. To this day, I don’t know why; they were a gorgeous shade of green wool and they were somewhere in the $10 range. Oh well. Hindsight, or handsight as the case may be, is 20-20. And I needed 10-10: 10 hole-free fingers for around 10 bucks.
So, of course, I headed to Target, where it is always possible to find something fabulous for under $10. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to find a parking space. Seriously. There was overflow into the Home Depot lot. So I zipped away and, silly me, headed toward the mall.
There may have been great gloves at the Gap. Or Macy’s. Or J.C. Penney. But I’ll never know, because the parking lot was a madhouse and I was having none of it. Next I headed to Kohl’s at the suggestion of my friend Tanya, who picked up a great pair of Isotoners there. But it was Sunday afternoon after a long weekend of shopping and the accessories section looked like a bomb went off in it. I did find a pair of elbow-length gloves that I liked, but they were a little prom-esque when I tried them on.
Oh, well. Next up, TJ’s, where my friend Deb had fantastic luck. I, on the other hand, did not. Had I wanted a purse, I would’ve been golden. But the glove affair was not meant to be.
I was feeling defeated. And my cuticles were cracking in the cold, dry air. But I pressed on. Downtown, I found lovely, soft, beautifully colored gloves by Echo at The Grasshopper Shop, starting at $20, but I decided boring old black was the way to go. At Bella Luna, Sophronia Designs’ fingerless cuffs (think leg warmers, but for your hands) were so cute, they almost convinced me that warm fingers were overrated. I may go back and get a lace-trimmed pair a la Madonna just for fun.
Finally, I hit pay dirt at Marshalls. Not only did I find a parking space on the first go-around, I also found a gorgeous pair of supple leather gloves, lined with cashmere and adorned with a row of tiny buttons. The $20 price tag was higher than I had hoped to pay — hey, I’m cheap when it comes to gloves, because I always lose them — but they’re leather.
And after the day I had, the idea of not having to deal with another crowded parking lot, picked-over clearance bin or grumpy holiday shopper was worth it.
Check out the ShopBlog for regular updates of the best area shopping events (craft fairs!), sales and new products from Maine and beyond. Visit http://shopblogbdn.blogspot.com.
ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, by U.S. mail to Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329, or by fax to 941-9476. For exclusive online shopping tips, visit http://shopblogbdn.blogspot.com.