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12 July 2009

Fo' Sale

Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.
~Bo Derek

When I was a kid, Saturdays were all about garage sales. The six of us would hop on our bikes and take off on route to every sale my dad had mapped out the night before. We'd ride up to a sale, slowing down to survey the goods. If it met expectations, my dad would give the signal and we'd park our bikes and walk over to take a look see. There is nothing cooler than sizing up someone elses junk. Dad and Mom taught us the art. Never get excited about something you want. Signal quietly to the parents that this was a must have, then let them do the bargaining. The price tag may have said $2 but we sure as hell weren't going to pay full price. Things can be grabbed up fast at garage sales so one must act quickly. Dad would quickly calculate the full cost of the items we wanted and then knock off a few dollars. Let's just say that everything we wanted was $10 full price. He'd offer $7 for it all if they'd also throw in one extra item. If they agreed, we'd gather up our purchases and balance them on our bikes and head out for another sale. If they didn't agree, dad would usually walk away. That is, unless of course, us girls or mom just couldn't live without it. Then we'd have to bargain with dad. Yes, we'd mow the lawn if we could just have it.

Same thing as teenagers. Idaho didn't have a mall back then. We'd pack up the motorhome and we'd drive to Portland where there were two big malls. Dad would park the motorhome in a far away spot and we'd spend all day shopping. We each had a budget for school clothes that we had to stick to. We'd shop all day long, stopping only to eat. Dad would take us in all the cool clothes shops, pulling us along to the back of the store where the 50% off and clearance racks stood. If we absolutely could not find anything in last years passe clothing, he'd let us try on the clothes at the front of the store. But, we'd be sure to be informed that if we bought this full priced outfit, we'd have less money left to spend. At the end of a long day, nothing would be purchased. No, that is how dad taught us patience. Everything we wanted was written down on a spreadsheet, with store name, what floor of the mall it was located on and the price, oh and if it was discounted or not. That night in the motorhome, he'd talley our expenses, we'd discuss the totals and the must haves and cannot live withouts. The next morning, we'd hit the mall at opening time, split up - half of us with mom and half with dad. We zip around the mall making our purchases, seeing clothes we'd missed the day before and making last minute changes to our purchasing game plan. That was how we got our school clothes until Idaho finally got a mall.

To this day, I have become a thrifty spender. You won't catch me in a mall but I will always dressed to the tilt in my own special style, I restock my wardrobe monthly (on pay day) with deals under $10 at all the local hip reuse clothing stores that Portland offers. Because I can spot deals like a bird spots its prey, I can accessorize myself, my husband, our house and our yard with the expertise of a seasoned bargainer. Fo' free is the best way to get things, but fo' sale will do just fine. Thank you dad.

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