August 7, 1998

Rules for Shopping

You probably think that wicker is wicker. When you want to buy a wicker couch, you go to the store and buy the white wicker couch. You are so wrong. I know. I am now an expert.

Do you want white, brown, a different shade of brown, gray, green, or ugly green-maybe-blue? Do you want to use it indoors or outdoors? What firmness do you want in the cushions? Do you want a deep seat or a narrow seat? And I have not begun to talk about the shape and style of the wicker itself and the various fabrics available. Too many decisions for me!

We have had some work completed on our sunporch and my wife and I are buying some new things for it. The wicked wicker caper arose out of one of our shopping trips. We do not yet have a new sofa because we broke several of The Rules - The Rules for Shopping with Jim. With my wife’s able assistance, I have assembled the rules so that they might add to your personal shopping pleasure.

Rule 1: Pick a store near a good restaurant. A good meal makes me much more manageable.

Rule 2: Do not enter a store after 11:00 AM and before lunch. I cannot shop on an empty stomach. I will agree on nothing. My antics will draw out memories of trying to do grocery shopping with a two year old.

Rule 3: Do not shop at a store which does not have a bathroom. Call ahead if you must. The anxiety of shopping is overwhelming to whatever has been consumed in preparation for this journey of desire.

Rule 4: Do not shop at a department store. Having too many choices scrambles my brain. All potential items should be within easy view from one spot in the store.

Rule 5: Make a maximum of two stops. If you count them up, that means a total of eight times that I either enter or exit the car, and that seems to be my limit. It is like when the game show contestant bets all that he has won on the final question and gets it wrong. Stopping at a third store wipes out all potential gains from the first two stops.

Rule 7: No surprises. Tell me where we are going and what we are looking for. And do not change the plan. Flexibility is not my long suit. A violation of this rule is the reason that we do not have a wicker couch. We were shopping for something else when I became Mr. Wicker.

Rule 8: Use devious tactics. I never want to go shopping, but buy something without me and I will pout and complain until you wish that you never bought it. So just say that you are going to go look at something and do not invite me to go along. Anytime that I know that I am not wanted, I will want to go.

Rule 9: Watch for the vacant stare. When my eyes glaze over, I have reached maximum input for the day. Either feed me or take me home.

Rule 10: Avoid shopping with Jim. Enjoy what you already have. Remember the price you paid the last time you took him shopping. When rules are broken, someone is going to have to pay. And you know who it will be.

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