Most women love shopping. I hate it. I especially don’t like “browsing.” As with most things in my life, I like to have a purpose. Get in, get the item, get out, get relaxing.

But last weekend I decided that I needed a few things for my apartment, so I went shopping. In search of end tables, I went to three stores. The first one, even though the sign outside boasted of furniture, actually sold things such as couches, beds, mattresses, and recliners. Not much in the table department at all

The next store was pretty much the same, except their furniture, although of good quality, was overpriced. My apartment is small and therefore I need to find small end tables, which I soon discovered, are not easy to come by. I moved on.

The third store was empty as far as customers when I walked in, and I was greeted warmly by the one sales representative in the place. I told him what I was looking for, and he directed me to an area of the store. I found one end table that would work, and so I asked if he had more in storage, and he said “yes.” Then he left me. I assumed he was going to check on additional end tables, but after five minutes, he did not return. I found him talking to an elderly couple about a bed and mattress set and it was almost as if he was avoiding me. Can you imagine? I suppose  that the bedroom set was a much better sale to make than two end tables, but, really? I marched right out of there with flare, but inside, I felt defeated. It was borderline rejection, from a sales rep. I realized at that moment that the end table purchase was not going to happen that day.

Next I travelled a few more miles in search of some items such as a table cloth, margarita glasses, and perhaps some blinds for the kitchen. I went into a local Home Goods store and found myself distracted at the hand soap display. I do not need any soap, as I have a box full in storage, yet there I was staring at the display. As I stood there, I saw a woman carrying two end tables, just the size I was looking for! She seemed to be in a hurry and she and her friend rushed past me carrying the small tables. I wondered why they were practically running to the cash register.

After choosing a hand soap and lotion set, I wandered over to their furniture section. Not one small end table in the whole bunch! Those women had apparently purchased the last small end tables in the county!

So I moved on to the table cloth section. Shopping alone and contemplating my purchase, I was doing fine until several more customers moved into the aisle and stood next to me. Now, truly, how many people could need tablecloths at the same time that I was looking for them? I began to feel crowded, so I left that aisle and went on to browse in the picture frame dept. (remember, I hate browsing).

I didn’t need frames, but figured that maybe I could get an idea of a picture to put on my kitchen wall. There I am, all alone, gazing at the framed pictures, when three customers come up and stand right next to me. I’m not kidding! What am I, a magnet for shoppers?

Still, I pressed on. In the glassware section I found the margarita glasses and some others that I probably didn’t need. As I tried to decide which size “cocktail” glass to buy, two women came up beside me and grabbed boxes in front of me, without even an “excuse me.” I was almost appalled.

That did it. I had to get out of that store, as I was losing my patience and apparently drawing customers to every department I went into. So I made my way to the cash register and there was a line of about fifteen people standing in it. Now I think I know why those women were running with the end tables before. They must have seen a break in the line at the registers.

As I’m standing there, surrounded by people, I briefly thought that I really didn’t need hand soap or the ice cream scoop I found, or the margarita glasses. Only one cashier and a lot of people waiting. Finally, another cashier stepped up and announced that she “would take the next customer.” The woman standing behind me moved over to that line, and I thought there was going to be a fight right there in the Home Goods store. Another woman, who should have technically been “the next customer” yelled out “EXCUSE ME!” to the woman who had moved over into the new line. Finally, I heard the words, except that they were screamed out, and intended to be a verbal slap in the face to someone.

I held the glasses tighter, thinking that at any moment, these women are going to go at it in the store. I imagined that I would be caught in the middle, and I didn’t want to have to pay for broken glasses and spilled hand soap that I didn’t need in the first place!

I made it out of the store in one piece, and so did the glassware that I bought. But I did not find end tables, which was my entire reason for going to the stores that day. Which means I will have to do this thing all over again soon.

And now you know why I hate shopping. Oh yeah, those margarita glasses? One of them was used about ten minutes after I arrived home.