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Recession or Not, Get the Hell Out and Shop

By       Message Nita Micossi       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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I, for one, took the morning off work yesterday to devote myself to a higher purpose.  There was a big sale at Macy's and I was there when the doors opened at 9am, clutching my EXTRA 20% OFF BONUS COUPONS.  I've been holding off any serious purchases against the day I had a serious income, believing, as I do, that deficit spending is right up there with checking kiting in the morally reprehensible column.

But the world has changed in these past months -– General Motors is threatening to go belly up, for goodness sake -- and I knew I had to readjust my morals accordingly. 

So, with my eyeglasses at a jaunty angle and my credit card raised high, I stepped across the threshold of the department store, determined to do my share to resurrect the economy, push the S&P back to its historical summit, and protect the good old U.S. of A. from those Socialists – or whoever.

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I noticed a similar steely resolve among my fellow soldierettes – young moms with tots-in-tow, middle-aged women in polyester stretch pants, and blue-haired grandmas waving their EARLY BIRD ADDITIONAL EXTRA PERCENTAGE OFF CREDIT SLIPS.  We were a force to be reckoned with and the Macy's sales staff saluted us respectfully as we marched forth.

Stirred by Whitney Houston keening God Bless America over the store's loudspeakers, I felt like George S. Patton on a good day as I advanced to the coat department.  This was no brassiere and pantie raid.  I headed straight into the Big-Ticket battle.

I wanted a fleece coat to replace the black fleece coat that I'd bought five years ago at the same store and had grown to hate [how much black can a girl take in winter without aggravating an intense case of Seasonal Affective Disorder?]  There, against the back wall, arrayed like the cavalry poised for attack, were row upon row of coats all the same style as the one I already owned, and in all the same drab colors as they've had for the past five years.  But I was not to be defeated.  I bought one anyway.

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I moved on to linens where I purchased a set of sheets for my child's bed even though the top and bottom were from two different dye lots.  Would Eisenhower have delayed D-Day just because his khaki trousers were a different shade than his shirt?

My shopping addiction unshackled, I bought like a woman possessed.  Boots a size too small; sweaters in kindergarten colors I will never wear; horribly expensive gifts for people I don't like.

Then I got lucky.  I found some cotton pajamas for my daughter in her size and favorite color!  I felt like Washington must have felt at Yorktown, and bought three pairs – two because she needed them, the third for Ben Bernanke.

Running short of time, I began to pick off small items like a precision sniper.  A Waterpik plaque remover attachment, a stovetop spoon rest shaped like the Starship Enterprise, an Al Gore For President commemorative candy dish [deeply discounted] – each little purchase a minor victory, but a clean kill.

On my way out of the Mall I passed through Penney's to return two flannel shirts I'd bought for my husband the week before, even though he never wears flannel shirts.  I miscalculated his commitment to the cause.  Although the clerk mercifully gave me full return credit on my card without comment, I felt shame falling upon our entire kinship group with this act of treason.

To make up for it I bought myself a grey sweatshirt that I don't need and my daughter a winter jacket that, since I love it, she will absolutely refuse to wear.

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It was a sacrifice and there will be hell and about $600 to pay later.  But what is patriotism if there's no sacrifice involved?  No one ever said that fighting the good fight was going to be easy.

{Nita Micossi believes that anyone can wear a tin flag on their lapel, but it takes a real patriot to spend above her credit card limit.}

© 2008 Anita Micossi

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After twelve years in the professor's chair Nita Micossi left the academic life 25 years ago in order to become a full time writer and journalist. If she'd known how much the health insurance premiums were she might have reconsidered. She's a (more...)

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Recession or Not, Get the Hell Out and Shop