This article is scheduled to be published in the Spring 2018 issue of DIALOGUE Magazine under the title "My Very Personal Shopper."
I’ve never enjoyed shopping.
In college and before I was married, I would go clothes shopping with friends, and I hated it. Not that they weren’t helpful to me, they were. But while they were looking for what they needed for themselves—and remember for people who enjoy shopping, that might take a long time—I would stand waiting and bored. Since I’m blind, I couldn’t look around at items in the store, examining, making finds I liked or didn’t like. So I just stood waiting, bored.
I did go grocery shopping with friends and roommates sometimes, but most of the time I lived alone, I made grocery lists, and let someone else shop for me.
When I was a stay-at-home mom, I always made lists, and my husband Murray went shopping for us. Sometimes, when the kids went with him, and begged for items they saw in the aisles, Murray would check the list and say, “Nope, sorry. Mom didn’t put it on the list.”
When I was a teacher, Murray bought all my work clothes for me. I trusted him. He wanted me to look nice, professional, to feel confident about what I wore.
I’ve never enjoyed shopping. Until my daughter Rebecca was old enough to drive and take me with her.
Rebecca lives in another state now, and we only see her a few times a year. But one of the biggest things I look forward to at Christmas time is shopping with Rebecca.
She is patient and takes the time to look for just what I need. I have grown to trust her as much as Murray in buying clothes. She has learned what I like and want when buying yarn for my crocheting and knitting projects.
She helps me buy birthday and anniversary gifts for Murray and the other kids. She’ll stand with me and look carefully through movies and books and music and clothes, helping me to find things that they would like. She takes the time to describe colors, pictures and styles to me, to read titles and blurbs about books and movies, never trying to rush me.
She knows the kind of jewelry and clothes that Sarah would like. If I want to buy cologne or body spray for one of the guys, she says, “Be sure to tell him not to use too much.”
I make a list for when we go shopping, and I always add, “Stuff for Rebecca.” I usually tell her that I’ll pay for a few things for her, and she’ll say sweetly, “Aww, really? Thank you.”
While we shop for me, she sometimes shows me negligees or scanty underwear she knows this middle-age mama would never wear. “This would be good for you, don’t you think?” She shows me huge stuffed animals which cost more than I’d ever pay. “Aww, you’d love this.”
She finds something fun or pretty that she knows I’d like and tells me, “Okay, but it costs thirty-five dollars.” “Oh,” I sigh. “Just kidding.” I can hear the smile in her voice. “It’s only seven.”
We always make it an outing for just the two of us, since we have to buy gifts for the rest of the family. We usually have lunch together, and I’ll ask, “So, tell me about what’s going on in your life.” Rebecca is agreeable. “Okay.” She gives me a detailed account about work and other things she’s involved with in her church and community.
Rebecca knows this is a service she does for me, but sometimes, when we’re visiting her during the year, she’ll ask with enthusiasm, “Do we need to make a shopping trip while you’re here?”
Rebecca has made shopping fun for me, and I will always look forward to it at Christmas or whenever she’s visiting.