Kmart, the kiss of death for social status in Junior High. My Mother’s favorite store for deals, Kmart. My utter loathing of the store, epic. Picture this, a sweltering hot September day in Las Vegas. Our station wagon with peeling wood-grain, prominently parked in the first row of cars in the Kmart parking lot. The windows are open to allow the whisper of a breeze, not unlike the air from an oven when it is opened. I am hiding under the seat, drenched in sweat. My hair is stuffed into a ball cap to cover up my trademark red hair. I would rather have a heat stroke and literally die than be caught in a “discount” store. Looking back, I wouldn’t doubt that my Mother chose the parking spot in front, and probably extended the shopping trip by playing the slots at the store. Yes, even Kmart has slot machines in Vegas.
Fast forward a decade. I am buying my makeup at the Clinique counter at Macy's. I am rocking my Gap jeans, Banana Republic shirt, and Brighton belt. Flush with cash, a 24K teaching job, and a MasterCard.
Jump ahead yet another decade, my shopping habits have now come full circle. My mother taught me at an early age the art of discount shopping. For many years, I felt scared by those lessons, literally I do have a scar, from a pen cap that was under the station wagon seat. I have evolved, moved beyond the brand. Well, that... and now I have three girls, a husband, and am living on one salary.
My name is Melissa, and I am a proud Goodwill shopper. I pull open the door, inhale the distinct odor of bargains to be found. A cashier yells, “Welcome to Goodwill...hey Red!” Goodwill has become my own personal “Cheers”. You never know what you may find. A few months ago, I discovered the holy grail of bargains. My ears always perk up when I hear the groan of a new garment rack being dragged out. I make a beeline for the rack and before my eyes is an entire wardrobe, all my size, all my favorite brands, some even with tags. My eyes may have teared up a bit as I dragged the entire rack near the dressing room and slipped on a strapless banana republic dress that was made for me. I push the rack down the crowded aisle, attempting not to take anyone out. Panting, I make it up to the cashier. She begins the task of manually entering in the 25 or more articles of clothing. While yanking one more dress off the rack, she peers up at me and asks, “Wonder what happened to this chick, maybe she died”.
My friends now affectionately call her “dead girl”. If I am wearing a super outfit, chances are if you ask what designer I am wearing, I will proudly say “dead girl”. So thank you Mom, for teaching me the thrill of finding a bargain. I look forward to teaching this lesson to my girls as well. Too bad they won’t be able to hideout in the car because anything under 5 minutes in an unattended car is child abuse. Just saying...