Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shop til Mom Drops

If shopping were an Olympic sport, Alison Reed would rival Michael Phelps for gold medals. I have both the receipts and the sore feet to prove it.

She gets it honest, though.

Jeff is a fabulous shopper. Second only to Auntie Jen for his bargain finding skill, he'll spend hours sifting through clearance racks and bins and not think a thing about it. This applies to cashmere just as it does to anything Kroger sells. He likes fine quality, but he likes a price cut even better. I'm sure he's never paid full retail. For anything.

Me, I'd rather forfeit the bargain so I don't have to change my postal address to whatever store I'm in.

Take yesterday for example, the Captain and Duane Jasheway joined the VIP Club of Big Red Liquors in a quest for a bottle or two of the fabled Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Made in small batches in Kentucky, the hooch is so sought after, there's a black market for it. The boys were hoping to land the chance to buy some of it via lottery at this VIP gathering. Also on the list was some craft beer favored by Tom Tokash, made in Indiana, but also in very limited quantities.

So they get to the warehouse before it opens. It took them 15 minutes to get to the beer where they discovered both of the beers they wanted had been snatched up. They didn't win the lottery to buy the Pappy, either.

Makes for a bad Saturday, right? Nope. There was a ton of high-end booze on sale. And somehow these two got themselves ensconced in the VIP VIP room for bourbon tasting. For Carrie Bradshaw, this would be the equivalent of being one of three people invited to a Louboutin trunk show. Or me at a book store where I could get all the vampish, get-me-through-the-workeout paperbacks I could get into a duffel bag.

They were there for at least six hours. Most of it in that back room where they compared and then re-compared sips of really expensive bourbon, whiskey and rye.

"I saw a guy buy a bottle for $3700!" a still reeking Captain Reed said about eight hours after he'd first set out. 

This is how much they drank: Jeff had forgotten his keys and Ali and I were 20 minutes behind his arrival thanks to a grueling grocery visit. It was in the 30's most of the day. Even having waited for us out in the yard, he wasn't cold. 

If I'd lit a match while he was talking, he'd probably ignited the both of us.

Knowing they'd gotten to the place by SUV, I asked: "Did they feed you at all?"

"Nope!" he said, grinning. He Duane did, however, stumble across the street to a Wendy's to soak up a bit of the liquor before they drove home. I don't know how Duane fared, but my boozer laid down on the couch and didn't move for a few hours.

Turns out, the store had come into several specialty bottles that were really hard to find, and they were offering a discount, too.  Amazing bargains that just couldn't be passed up. Really. He'd passed on most of the really expensive stuff, even the bottle one woman (member of the Jasper IN Bourbon Club and possibly a plant by Big Red Liquors) claimed was in the top 5 of the 3500 boubons she'd tasted this year.

The fact that Jeff now knows who the BRL wine guy is as opposed to the bourbon guy does not bode well for our savings account...

He came home with boxes and bags of booze including a Blue Label Jim Beam, a Four Roses bourbon, some champagne for me and other wines that were just too good to pass up. Right. Some of this we'll share with others and if you're really good to us, you might find booze in your Christmas stocking.

Today, after he set off for basketball and later work, Ali and I hit Target and the mall. We left around 11 and staggered back into the house around 4. 

Alison has a bit of the bargain shopper gene. She scored a pair of $100 jeans for $30. I decided to take them off her hands and add them to her Christmas pile. 

It was our first shopping trip where we split up and communicated mostly by phone. I spent a bit of it hanging with the husbands in the center aisle imbibing in my Candy Crush addiction. I don't think there was a store that Alison missed. She'd call me every so often and I'd go find her to give advice. 

She had a handful of earrings at Claire's but after consultation decided Christmas is coming and she really doesn't NEED any more ear art. Same for the tee-shirt with the funny saying at Hot Topics. And the boots at Journeys, though she'll be asking for multiple -- or one really big -- gift card from there.  She also loved some dresses and shirts at Charlotte Russe. I think I'm glad she didn't get my hooker job. I know I'm glad we left there bagless.

We're also experimenting with loose-leaf tea thanks to a recommendation from a friend of Alison's. 

"This could be something we do together for a long time, you know, Mom," she said after luring me to the store she'd been haunting for a while. Yeah, the Big Red Liquore store boys have nothing on her when it comes to closing a sale.

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