Monday, February 23, 2009
Queen of the Buck Shoppers
My mother lives in a small town in BC not a supremely long drive from here. In this small town are many businesses owned by local people. In these locally owned businesses, you can find, nearly every day, a clearance bin. In these clearance bins, you can very often find items for a BUCK.
My mother is the QUEEN of items for a buck. She LOVES items for a buck. She doesn't CARE what it is, long as it's just a buck. Mom's a buck shopper. She LOVES to find the thing out there for a buck. She'll search high and low, hour after hour, day after day, for the item that she KNOWS is out there for a buck. It's all about "bucks" for Mom. She wants to either save a buck or spend a buck but she hates to spend more than a buck. And the item she buys must be considerably more valuable than a buck. It has to be marked down from like $20 or more. Dollar stores will NOT do.
I've lived in this city 10 years and I can't tell you the number of hours, the number of days, the amount of money I've spent on gas, the number of times I've foregone work (I work from home)because she'll be here, trying to help her try to find something for a buck! I hate it. I hate shopping. I hate the wasted time. I hate the cranky crowds. I hate the cranky clerks. I've ended EVERY one of these trips cranky myself.
Has she ever, in all that time, found an item here for a buck?? NO! Still. She's convinced it's out there and she won't stop till she finds it.
I tell her all the time...
"Ma. There's nothing for a buck in the city. It's worth more to these stores and companies to donate the stuff and get a tax deduction for the full value. That's worth a LOT more to them, than your buck."
One weekend in December, it was my uncle's 70th birthday celebration. Huge. 150 people for dinner. People traveling from far and wide...as far as Hong Kong even. And people traveling from not as far and wide...like my mother and her husband from BC.
So. I was talking to my cousin who's organizing this surprise shindig for my uncle.
"Is Ma going?" I ask her.
"Yes. She RSVP'd yes."
"Oh. One day she's gonna actually INFORM me when she's planning to stay with me."
"Maybe she's not planning on it."
"Where else is she going to stay? She'll never stay in a hotel."
"Maybe you're right."
So a day or two later, Ma phones and asks if I'm going to the shindig. She reserves the guest suite for the upcoming weekend and tells me, "We'll be there if it doesn't snow and there's no snow on the road."
"All righty," I say, and I think "...ya crazy nutcake," cuz if the wind blows harder than she likes when she's on a road trip, she pulls off to the shoulder and WAITS for it to stop! Rain...well she pulls off as soon as 2 drops hit her window in a 30 second time frame. Snow she absolutely does NOT do on road trips.
Friday the weather is beautiful. Sunday's weather is predicted to be beautiful. Friday evening, mother arrives with her husband in tow. We have some dinner and I inform her that I signed up for a Christmas bake exchange. I have to bake this weekend. Since I have to get the ingredients and pull everything out this weekend, I'm going to do ALL my holiday baking including the stuff I do for gift baskets and she gets to help.
"I'm not baking," she says.
"Yes, you are," I say.
"I'll watch YOU," she says.
"You stay in my house, you help," I counter.
Saturday morning comes and we hit the grocery store for all the goodies I use pretty well only once a year. As we enter, Ma spies all these pre-boxed, pre-made goodies in the bakery.
"Just get a bunch of this stuff and put it in your own boxes and stuff," she says.
"No. That's totally the wrong point," I tell her, knowing she has an ulterior motive for encouraging me to do this...freeing up baking time and making time for buck-shopping.
We get home and we make the dough for...
thimble cookies, ginger snaps, chewy coconut ganache pinwheels, sugar cookies, orange cranberry almond sable cookies, lime meltaways and florentines.
I decide I'll bake them Sunday after she goes and do my exchange delivery in the evening.
We go to Uncle's dinner and have a good time, then my cousin Missy, whose name isn't really Missy, and I organize a bunch of the girl cousins to forego the fake casino after dinner to take the aunties out to the real casino afterward. We return home about midnight with the old ladies happy they'd been taken on an adventure.
I slept in on Sunday and got up after Mom and her husband had hit the road.
I specifically and ONLY took part in the bake exchange and slept in so I wouldn't have to spend the entire weekend, driving my car, burning gas and buying lunch to look for something for a BUCK!