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Is It Better To Shop Alone?

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Is it better to shop alone? Typically, I would say no. I welcome the advice, suggestion and opinion of friends when I pick out clothes or decorating items for my home.

I have on too many occasions, bought a new shirt or pair of pants only to get them home and question my decision. My buyer’s remorse can last for days until I realize that if I can’t decide if I like the item or not, then I probably don’t really like it.

Shopping mantra #1: If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.

If I buy it without loving it, I will have to take the time to return it. This could have been avoided if I had just brought a friend.

I have learned from experience that it is better to wait for a time when I can shop (or return something) without my kids (better for everyone involved) but it is not always possible.

For this reason, I am usually pretty good and picking out gifts before I need them but this year, my husband’s birthday crept up on me and suddenly I realized that I have nothing to give him for his special day.

So I pack snacks and juice boxes to keep my kids busy and quiet in the store, and we load into the car for the task at hand, to find a perfect gift for Daddy.

Despite my best introduction of the “shopping adventure,” my boys complain the entire fifteen-minute drive to the destination.

They don’t want to shop. I am determined to stay positive. Let’s just get this done.

As we enter the store, we are quite a group.

I have already bribed my three-year-old with his first snack just to get out of the car. He is standing next to the nine-year-old because for the moment, they are not poking each other.

This is not true for the seven-year-old, who is standing on the other side of me, poking his older brother behind my back every chance that he gets.

The cold air conditioning hits us as we enter the store, rescuing us from the sweltering 100 degree weather outside. Glancing behind me, I catch the sever-year-old it mid-poke. I shoot him a disappointed scowl.

With my first step into the store, I know my time is limited and I head directly towards the men’s clothing. The boys are now begging for the treats that they know I am carrying and I try to buy some time and hand them over.

As I hold men’s shirts in the air, trying to picture them on my husband, I am too focused to notice that the boys have also grabbed the juice boxes and they disappear within minutes. I have no free arms for the empty wrappers and containers that are being handed to me.

Before I can make a purchase decision, the boys have started a game of tag inside the store. They are shoving each other, yelling out, “You’re it!” and running through the displays.

I stop looking at clothes in order to gather them together and attempt to distract them with another snack. My hands shuffle inside my tote bag until I realize that they have already gone through everything that I have brought.

The reality sets in that I have less time than I thought and I direct my attention back to the clothes. But by now, all three boys have to go to the bathroom. (I knew that I shouldn’t have brought those juice boxes.)

So we take a bathroom break. I nervously look at my watch just to find out that we have been in the store for almost 20 minutes and have accomplished nothing.

I am on a mission and am determined. I will find a perfect gift.

Once out of the bathroom, I march in front of the boys and focus back on the gift. But I hear a scuffle behind me, followed by crying that echos throughout the store. I feel like all the other shoppers are staring at me. I let out a loud sigh before slowly turning around.

My youngest son has his hands clasped protectively over his nose and the other two boys are pointing at each other. It's over.

This marks the end of our shopping adventure. I handle defeat like a champ.

With the crying son on my hip, and the other two following silently and obediently behind me, we walk to the car.

Dear husband, happy birthday. I hope that my sanity is a good enough gift this year.

I had to sacrifice a real gift just to stay sane. I promise to find you something great on my next solo shopping trip.

Oh, it’s better to shop alone.

Edited by Jody Smith

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