Shopping: For some it’s a pastime. Others view the event as a competitive sport. In an effort to shield themselves from all social interaction, a few sad souls avoid shopping whenever possible. Their excuses are embarrassing. They’ll fake illness, pretend they suffered a sudden bout of amnesia, or in a pinch claim they’re “slammed!” at work — lame excuses for why they can’t join you for a shopping excursion or worse, why they didn’t buy you (or anyone else in the family!) a Christmas gift. Then the few & the proud actually take shopping to a professional level and make it their job. (honestly, this one appeals to me a bit, though I can’t say exactly why…)
Most of us who spend any time at all in the cyberworld have of course become cyber shoppers. It’s so easy. Click. Click. Click. Buy buy buy. Spend spend spend. Telling your money, “bye, ‘bye, ‘bye” has never been easier. The anti-social amongst us must be greatly relieved. No longer do they have to manufacture a cough or work 7 days a week. They can slip on their after-work sweatpants and go to the cyber mall. Whew! Once again, presents for everyone.
I’ll admit, I love the ease of amazon.com. We buy our incandescent light bulbs from retailers on amazon. Our dog’s crate came via the same method. And don’t even get me started on singing the praises of buying books, movies, cds. Couldn’t be more convenient. But some things should probably not be purchased online. Say, for instance, a dress for your son’s wedding.
I can only conclude that facing the fact of my baby’s upcoming marriage triggered my brief bout of insanity. Mind you, I didn’t search the amazon.com website for a mother-of-the-groom dress. (I guess I retained a modicum of sense.) But I did browse the major department stores’ websites. And after many hours of click, click, click, I found a dress that I absolutely loved. A couple more clicks and it was on its way to my front door. Remember. I LOVED it. Right up until it arrived at my front door and I dropped everything to try it on. To say that it, and I, looked hideous would be a kindness. Hideous will suffice.
My stupidity, unfortunately, did not end there.
A nice thing about shopping the online version of a department store that also anchors a nearby mall is this: No return shipping fee. Off to the store I went. Conveniently, one of the groomsmen (another son!) and their dad (my hubby) tagged along. Something about buying the suits the bride and groom had selected for the big day. After I’d made my easy-peasy return, I decided to indulge myself with a bit of in-store browsing (what a novelty!). Disaster was written across my forehead, but I didn’t know it at the time. Nope. Not I. I was blinded by a vision of such mother-of-the-groom-dress loveliness that, before I knew what I was doing, I’d tried it on, twirled about in the dressing room, and purchased the thing. Ta-DA!
I needed someone to say “Ta-Don’t!” is the thing.
I took that dress home. Showed it to nearly everyone — husband, daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law to be (aka the bride). Heck, I took a picture of it and sent to several others who might have an opinion. What I never did, though, was try the dang thing on so that someone — ANYONE! could say, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa.’ TIME OUT. You’re wearing THAT!??!?”
See, this is why friends don’t let friends shop alone. Because, under no circumstances should a mother-of-the-groom look like she’s carrying around a sack of potatoes (even if she is, figuratively speaking, carrying around a sack of potatoes). Sure, sure, no one could ever upstage this beauty hugging her dad-in-law. Still. The mother-of-the-groom would do well to, you know, get a second opinion when buying the dress that identifies her as the ‘mother-of-the-groom.’ Because LOTS of pictures are snapped on wedding days.
For this reason alone, I repeat: Friends don’t let friends shop alone: not online; not for important purchases like major appliances or furniture upgrades; not for swimwear; not for pillows, laundry detergent or prime rib. Most especially, friends don’t let friends shop for once-in-a-lifetime dresses alone. Disaster can strike at any moment, friends. One minute you’re returning an online purchase. The next you’re twirling in a dressing room, imagining the mother-groom dance, and then, ‘buy, buy, buy.’
Don’t let it happen to you. Or your friends.