Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Additional advantages to shopping around

Heard from someone online that one of the stores that I don't visit all that often has winter clearance on clothes for 70% off the lowest marked price, so I headed over there last night, since it is one of those stores that stays open until later. It is basically an all-inclusive type of store, since you can get food as well as clothes as well as furniture... well, you get the point.

Well, I'm not the type (usually) that buys something just because I show up at a shopping establishment, and the clearance items had been pretty much picked over for the type of items I was really interested in. I looked at the clearance items displayed at the front of the store, and then at the clearance items in the children's section. Only a few things available that were only slightly tempting, so, nooooo.....but hey, I was already in the store, so I checked out the grocery section.

Most of the prices were similar to/slightly higher than what I would be willing to pay if I had to, and some were of the type that makes me wonder how anyone can afford to pay that much for that particular item, but I did hit a couple of winners. For instance, the canned pasta that is preferred in my family was on sale, down from 10/$10 to $.88/can. I bought a couple, and made mental note of the fact that it appeared from the shelf labeling that it will remain that way for a couple of weeks. I've been trying to work more on my 3-month supply, which differs from the long-term supply items because the goal is to have that length of a supply of the items you normally eat, rather than more of the staples (although rice and beans is now more normal around here than it was last year :) . Anyway, a couple of those went into the cart, as well as a bottle of shampoo for $.99. Granted, the bottle looked smaller than what I remember buying in the past, but we need to replenish the supplies on the soap shelf downstairs, since we seem to deplete them when needed....

Then I went to the local national grocery store and found out that the item that I thought was on sale this week that I wanted particularly was not on sale after all. Ended up picking up a couple of cans of Spam because they were somewhere in the realm of the prices that I would pay at the local national chainstore, and a couple of frozen items that were at a good price and that my children really like, and would help in the 3-month goal category. I don't store all that much in the freezer, because the electricity thing, coupled with the fact that we don't have a generator, makes me more inclined to invest in things that don't need refrigeration.

And now, more to the point, for those that are still reading, is what my husband said when I got home. He asked me if it was busy. It was not, at either store. It could have been the hour. It could have been the prices. Whatever the case, the slower goes the store, the more people's jobs are affected, and that is why, when I can, I try to spread my money around, other than just at the local national chainstore. It does seem like it is extremely difficult to beat the prices at the local national chainstore in many cases, and since the local national chainstore is also an all-inclusive type of store, it can be more time effective as well. But I still try to "spread the wealth" as it were, and support more local businesses. When I did that recently, I reaped a lot more than a price decrease...

A couple of weeks ago, now, I was out and about in the afternoon on a Saturday, and I went past the local crafts store. I knew that I had to prepare an item for the following day that required sewing of a sort, (those who may recall my feelings about sewing can imagine the gasp of horror that accompanies such a project) and having heard of a method that included a glue gun and very little actual stitching, I was planning to buy some glue sticks and try my hand at it later that evening. (Nothing like procrastination to improve an already stressful situation.... :) The parking lot looked busy, so I decided I would run that particular errand later in the evening.

In the meantime, I went several places where I probably could have ferreted out the needed glue sticks if I had been so inclined, but I wanted to give my business to the craft store, so I didn't. It got later and later in the day, and finally, knowing that the crafts store closed at 9:00, made my way there probably a little more than an hour before closing (I'm really good--make that practiced--at the procrastination thing). I asked for directions to the glue stick aisle. Couldn't find it. But I did find one of my neighbors, who was working there. She directed me to the glue sticks. She asked me about my project. She told me about a wonderful item that is a liquid that is permanent that acts like sewing, but isn't. And then she offered to do my sewing for me.

Yeah, she told me when she would get off work, and invited me to come over because what I had in mind would only take her about 2-3 minutes, and she already had her sewing machine out. I bought the glue sticks for future use, and took her up on her offer, arriving at the pre-arranged time at her house with my project in hand.

Turns out she is an accomplished seamstress. I saw some of her handiwork--she had been sewing quilts for her family, and they were absolutely gorgeous. She has a wonderful talent, and she did me a great favor. Since the project was for one of my children, she has done a favor for my family as well. She offered to help me in the future.

I have known for a long time that she is one of the nicest people that you would ever want to meet, but I only found out recently that she works at the crafts store. I wanted to help the business, (what little I can) but it turns out that I benefitted from my shopping habits more than they did in this case. The more businesses that stay in business, the more options (and hopefully price competition) we'll have. This experience just helped me realize that when we are supporting a business, we're supporting the employees, who may be our neighbors, as well. And it turns out to be a win-win situation all around....

I doubt that my neighbor will find this post. (You would probably be surprised to know how few people know that I have a blog, much less which blog it is.) However, my sincere thanks go out to her if she does. A talent is a wonderful thing, to share it is a wonderful thing, and who knows, as a result of her example, I may be prompted to try my hand at sewing again.... it doesn't hurt to try, does it? Well, in the case of sewing it has caused me mental anguish in the past, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't try again anyway..... :)


The Scavenger said...

Marie, you make some very good points. These works are our neighbors and frineds and we need to try to do all we can to help those. On the sewing friend, I would try to spend a little more time with her. I'm sure she would be more than happy to help you learn this all important skill. Just my thoughts.


Marie said...

Chris--I think you have a great idea in asking her to help me learn the sewing stuff--I've actually been considering it myself, because she said the next time I needed similar help, she could either just do it for me or show me how to do it. It's good to know who you can go to for help, but I would love to be more proficient at this skill... Thanks so much for your comment!