How Women Think (and Shop)

Last week, after waking up before dawn, making a special pancake breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kids off for their first day of school, getting ready for work and driving to the office, I breathed a quick sigh of relief:

“Phew!” I thought as I checked my online bank account right before work, “Back-to-school spending is done and I’ll have some time to recover before the holidays roll around.” Then, I looked at the calendar and realized there are only fourteen more weeks until Thanksgiving!

Like most women, my brain runs on about twelve different channels at once. So, as I sifted through my inbox on Channel One, Channel Two began a mental inventory of the dozen kids on my Christmas shopping list.

On Channel Three, my Finance Channel, I started planning a shopping strategy. I try to shop sales, buy on clearance, and use coupons whenever possible.

Quickly, my brain switched to the Family Channel. You see, I learned discount shopping from my stepmother, who was the Goddess of the Clearance Aisle. She never paid full price for anything and often managed to find treasures at more than 80% off. She also occasionally found a few duds, especially as she got older and her eyesight started to fail. She once gave me an all-white sweatsuit that was at least three sizes too small. Even if it would have fit, who looks good in a white sweatsuit? Beyonce? Paris Hilton? I would have looked like the Michelin Man!

Next you thing you know, I was tuned into my brain’s Comedy Channel. One year, when those gold name necklaces were all the rage, Mom gave one to my 9-year-old niece. My niece was over-the-moon excited to have her very own solid gold necklace in that bubbly cursive script, just like the ones worn by her favorite celebrities.

A few days later, my brother had scheduled an annual family portrait. My niece begged to wear her new gold necklace, and my brother caved in to her persistent: “Please, Daddy, Please!”

On the way to the portrait studio, he took a closer look at her daughter’s first piece of real gold jewelry, a find Mom had undoubtedly picked up on clearance. Sure enough. He was horrified to discover that the necklace didn’t say “Jenny” or anything even close to his daughter’s name. He thought she should take the necklace off. “But Dad”, she cried, “You promised I could wear it!” After intense negotiations, they reached a comprise. His daughter could wear the necklace, but she would have to turn it backwards.

Look very closely at that year’s family photo, and you’ll see his precious little pre-teen wearing a gold necklace that reads: HCTIB.


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