Sunday, January 2, 2011


shopasaurus (shap'-ǝ-sor'-ǝs) n. 1. A creature who delights in browsing through malls and other retail stores. 2. Any beast gratified by obtaining merchandise in exchange for currency, plastic cards or personal checks.

My father was a grocer, and perhaps for that reason, I've always had an interest in shopping, be it food, clothing, electronic gadgets, power tools or books.  For a guy, I'm a pretty good clothes shopper, since as an only child, I often had to accompany my mother on her trips to clothing stores all over the city (yes, Memphians and former Memphians, I have even shopped at The Snooty Fox).  One day, I got into trouble at a Summer Avenue boutique for being impatient and hiding under the clothes racks, but that was because my mom had picked out this truly dreadful dress, the front of which I thought (and proclaimed loudly to the sales associate) looked like "bars in a jail"...fortunately, it did not accompany us home.  That circumstance notwithstanding, shopping has always been for me a pleasant pastime.

Here in Atlanta, we are blessed with a plethora of shopping options: one can go from Bloomingdale's to Big Lots in a matter of minutes, stopping for a coffee pick-me-up at any of a bajillion places around town.   And of course, I'm highly vested in this whole shopping thing, because I work for the systems and technology division of a major retailer.  I don't discriminate at all, and yes, ladies, I even know my way around DSW (the Westwood store by UCLA is slightly below ground level, but there's still enough light to see in the "discount" aisles at the back).

But my true addiction is to one type of store, collectively known as "domestic merchandise retail".  The most notable of these is the large national chain Bed Bath & Beyond.  My wife was the first to notice that when I entered a BB&B, I seemed to lose track of time -- we would enter the store together, intent on finding some particular item, but within minutes, I had become fascinated with the Keurig coffeemakers or the "As Seen on TV" items plastered to the walls.  And my ADHD behavior did not stop there, for I would continue roaming throughout the store, becoming entranced with this or that miscellaneous product without which one could not live, as least not as elegantly as one could live if one owned said product.

The problem with my behavior (as seen by others, because it is just fine to me) is that my level of distraction inside BB&B makes any trip there take approximately 5.2 times as long as it would were I not along for the ride.  I'm not sure what it is about the store, but I think it has something to do with the tremendous variety of items available.  Of course, there are always those discount tables where you can find this or that thingy that you meant to buy when it was selling at the regular price but, now that it has gone slightly out of vogue, makes for a less appealing purchase, albeit at a major discount.

The nice thing about my shopping habit is that it comes in handy at times.  My wife, daughters and female friends know that I am always up for a trip to almost any given store, and that benefits me, since I get to feed my addiction while at the same time spending quality time with them (gentlemen, shopping can be quality time, just so you know).  And who doesn't like to have a few shiny new items around the house from time to time?

Speaking of, I think I'm up for a trip to Trader Joe's.  I'm out of Two Buck Chuck, and they have these little cookies that...wait...I'm feeling myself tense up here...I can control this...really, I can.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!