I was at the mall the other day. It was just one of those trips to kill some time before picking Andrew up from school. There I was, pushing the stroller slowly through the fairly empty shops, contemplating the purchase of a Starbucks Frappuccino when all of the sudden I feel this magnetic force take hold of my body and brain. It’s the same force that draws some into places like Best Buy and the Apple store. But this one is a force that only moms feel. I know you know what I’m talking about.
Powerless to stop it and all thoughts of icy chocolaty coffee brushed aside, I maneuver my stroller and babbling baby in the direction from where my name is being called. I hear it whispering. “Come heeeere Emily, you know you NEEEEEED to.”
My pace quickens as I glance at my watch. Only 15 minutes before I need to be in the car. This is dangerous. I should go back and just get some coffee. But then I catch a glimpse of those bright orange letters and my pulse races and I cannot help myself. The stroller takes control and steers me right into the store.
And though the mall is mostly empty I can see that like me, other moms have been hearing the faint whispers too for the stroller traffic jam makes it hard to even enter the store.
That’s when I see it. Oh my gosh! They got new things! Yes! Look at that outfit. I MUST have that outfit. My mind stirs into a frenzy and I start fingering through the racks. AH there’s only one left! Yes and it’s even her size! Well I can’t put this down. What if someone else picks it up? Slow down, Emily, don’t go overboard now.
Then I glance over at the boy side of the store and while it’s hard to find cute boy clothes I never have much trouble here. It’s like the clothes are laced with crack and I need a fix. I’m frantically grabbing shorts and tops and dresses and headbands and socks and shoes and debating, should I get this one or that one? Oh heck, buy both, that’s what my mom always says!
I glance at my watch. No time to make decisions. I take the entire pile and put it down next to the register and try to quiet the heart palpitations while the cashier rings up the damage.
Three hundred and twenty dollars?!? Holy hell how did I do that in only 7 minutes? But WAIT. I get GYMBUCKS? You mean I get to come back here and spend MORE money? You mean I can buy that $50 dress that will only fit for about 3 months and ONLY pay $25 for it? Well see it’s like they’re paying ME to shop. I mean really that makes it practically free anyway.
Hands shaking I take my receipt, my Gymbucks and my credit card and shove them all in my wallet. Then hook the shopping bag on the back of the stroller as I push past other salivating moms through the store to the door. I glance at my watch again. It only took 11 minutes to do all that shopping. I have 4 minutes to spare! That is almost enough time for a Starbucks. But no, I feel the guilt rise up in my chest and walk past the funky haired baristas. Oh willpower! I’m so proud of myself!
As I walk to the car I start thinking about what I’m going to tell hubby when I get home. I do a mental inventory of the clothes they already have. I make a note that it’s time to start feeding Andrew more. His continued ability to fit into size 2T at age three and a half is seriously cutting in to my shopping strategy.
I get home and remove the tags and hang the clothes up in the closet. I breathe in the smell of new cuteness and debate in my mind which to have them wear first. I go back to the feelings of guilt as I look once again at the receipt. It’s like someone took control of my brain and my credit card and filled my kids closets. Damn you Gymboree you did it again.
I resolve not to go back to the mall any time soon. I know going there will only result in a summons from the store with the bright orange letters. I shall stay away. I shall not go near that store again. I shall be a good budget conscious mommy…. And I am…
… until it’s Gymbucks time again.