Friday 30 Sep 2016

Shopping
Jennifer Flaten

I’ve never worked in retail. If you haven’t figured out by now, I am not a people person. I simply don’t have what it takes to engage with the public on a full-time basis; I can’t even make it through a trip to the mall.

Let’s just say if I ever did attempt to do something in the customer service field, it would undoubtedly end with me wearing an orange jumpsuit. This is why I keep my retail endeavors firmly on the shopping side of things, not on the taking the money and attempting to make change side.

When I was younger, I loved shopping, of course: at that time, I had disposable income. Now, I have children and shop much, much more than I ever did, but not for much I deem “fun.” Not that I haven’t tried to get excited about buying mundane things like a new bathmat I’ve tried really I have.

It doesn’t work though. Probably, because the only reason I was buying a new bathmat was that the cat threw up on the old one and no one wanted to use the mat with the stain on it. In my opinion, shopping for a household item just doesn’t have the same sense of fun as buying a new tube of lipstick just for the heck of it.

That’s right, just as you suspected all along, women buy lipstick and other beauty products, just for the heck of it. Especially lipstick or lip-gloss, we truly believe it has the power to transform a crappy day; had a fight with your boss? Stop on the way home and buy a tube of lipstick. Gained three pounds: stop on the way to work buy a new lipstick.

I believe men are the same way, but with beer. Am I correct? Yes, I am correct.

Prior to having children, very naughty children who used my lipstick as crayons, I had an entire tray of lipsticks, in all sorts of lovely colors. Lovely colors that looked a lot less lovely on my walls. Anyway, back then, I went to the beauty counter at the mall to buy my lipstick and all sorts of other useless beauty products.

Now that is something I haven’t done in a long time, buy a new lipstick. Mainly, I haven’t bought lipstick because these days a tube of lipstick is now roughly the same amount as a couple of gallons of gas. Guess which one is more practical for me.

Besides, I don’t need my own lipstick anymore, on those rare occasions I do want some I just borrow some from my daughters’ extensive collection of lip products. Walking into their room is like entering some odd world where everything smells like cherry blossoms and vanilla, but it does save me a trip to the beauty counter.

Oh, whom am I kidding these days, I get my mascara from Wal-Mart. Don’t judge me too harshly.

As pre-teen girls, my daughters feel it is their mission to keep Bath and Body works a float. Every couple of weeks they request a trip to the mall to replenish their seemingly endless array of lotions, glosses and sanitizers.

I cringe when they spend their entire allowance on two tubes of lip-gloss-lip-gloss that I will later fish out of the wash machine because someone forget to take it out of their pocket. Still, it makes them happy. Besides, I am not above steering them to a lip-gloss shade that I know will look lovely on me.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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