I'm not a great shopper. I like shopping but I'm more of a strategic shopper -- I know what I want and I go find it. Jeff and Jennifer Reed have some genetic gift for sniffing out bargains, but that can take days and weeks of patiently sifting through racks and bins or watching for an item to go on sale.
Jen's also a great coupon user. I'm the one who puts them aside and then either forgets to bring them with me to the store or whips them out only to hear, "Uh, ma'am, that coupon expired last year."
A couple of weeks ago, though, on my way home from a visit to my favorite aunt, I stopped at the Edinburgh Outlet Mall and scored a great find at White House Black Market and thought I had some great shorts for Alison from J. Crew. I'd sent her photos of some possibilities and then ended up getting the wrong colors.
So we'd planned on going back this weekend. But first, we stumbled (thanks, Jodie) onto a once-a-month opportunity to visit a Dr. Who warehouse sale. The story in the local paper said it was from 2 to 6 and Alison and I were sure we needed to get there right on time. Jeff was less sure. "How crowded can it be?" he scoffed.
The store is a warehouse in a section of town near the old airport terminal. It was in the southeastern corner of a block of other office buildings. When we got there shortly after 2, the line was to the northeastern end of the L-shaped office block. When we staggered out it was after 4 p.m. And it wasn't the selection that kept us there so long.
Kudos to the staff for crowd control. They must have had an earlier visit from the fire marshal. They let you in in groups of 20. First, you had to go to the viewing room where, if you didn't know about Dr. Who -- and why would you be there if you didn't? -- you could watch part of a show and get a short infommercial about DrWhoNorthAmerica -- the business. There was a life size Dalek there and happily, comfy sofas.
Then, it was on to the museum. Actually a room crammed with glass cabinets stuffed with items dating back to the first years of the show. It was really remarkable. There was even a pinball machine.
Finally, you could enter the warehouse, which was arranged kind of like the old Kahn's Fine Wines on Keystone or an old five-and-dime. Shelf after shelf with every kind of Dr. Who propaganda you could imagine. Books, movies, tee-shirts, Jammie Dodgers, posters, etc... Alison was in heaven.
We ran into the Earles -- whose son Charlie was equally impressed. Jeff and Kit wised up and got in line to pay long before the kids were ready. Dee and I went outside to breathe and soak in the unusually warm temps.
Jeff and I went to a birthday party last night and Alison had Jenna over. Jenna brought her flat iron so they flattened Alison's hair in preparation for our Sunday shopping spree.
This morning, we made the trek to Edinburgh and it was Dr. Who all over again but with trips into clothing stores in between arctic blasts of winter back like a bad penny.
We played the alphabet game on the way down. It's never a good idea to give me anything to think about besides driving, and the wind was buffeting us all over Interstate 65. They ganged up on me but I almost beat the little mongrels both times.
Once there, we mapped out a strategy that began with me being mostly a Sherpa, but they took pity on me when I kept finding them the right sizes and pointing out fun outfits.
At one point, the girls were trying on clothes and I took a bathroom break. We were in Rue 21 -- a store where I'm sure Julia Roberts must have shopped before she met Richard Gere. On the way back, I stopped in at Coldwater Creek and instantly felt like I was 150 years old. I declined, later, to stop in at Chicos. I might be old, but the retail whiplash was an experience I needed only once.
They had a great time. At one point, they were in a dressing room together -- well they always shared a dressing room -- but this time, Alison was sitting on the floor just hanging out while Jenna was trying on a dress. It's a good thing they didn't have food or they'd never have come out. We had a fantastic, albeit late lunch, and on the way home in the back of the car, the girls put on these crazy fake fingernails.
We got home just in time to fine Jeff had built a fire. I laid down on the couch and promptly fell asleep. Jeff ended up taking Jenna home while I was still snoozing and yes, there was a moment when I woke up to an empty house and thought the Rapture had come and left me behind. (It's an old flashback from a Pentecostal upbringing.) Gah.
They eventually returned, so unless we find others have vanished overnight, I think we're OK.