Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Opposite of Buy

I like to play word games with Reese. We rhyme. We create stories. Sometimes, we play opposites.  Back in the day when she wasn't the intellectually mature five-and-a-half year old that she currently is, the game went something like this:
Me: I'll give you a word, and then you'll give me the word that's the opposite. If I say wet, you say dry. Or if I say hot, you say cold. Got it?

Reese nodded.

Me: "Okay, here we go. Here's the first word: hello."

Reese: "Hi, Mommy."

Me: "No, sweetie, you have to say the opposite. Like day and night, or big and small. They're opposite from each other. Let's try again." (Pause.)  "Hello."

Reese: "Hi."

Let's just say that we slid this game to the back burner for a while, but now she's quite good.  Still, I wonder what she'd suggest as the opposite for buy.

Most people would automatically assume that the opposite of buy is sell.  They'd be right.  But then again, most people haven't been shopping with me.  Reese has.  Because of this, it's possible that she suspects the opposite of buy is return.

I don't know when this indecision began. What I do know is that I second guess myself with frequency.  It's not that I go shopping for myself all that often, but whenever I do -- even if it's for a $6 tee shirt at Target -- I bring the item home, scrutinize it, try it on in my closet, inspect myself in the mirror, and then think, "Do I really need this?  Do I really like this enough?"

I vacillate.  I hold onto receipts.  And then I too-frequently head to a store's customer service center, hand over the item, preemptively provide the no-there's-nothing-wrong-with-this spiel, and go through the formalities of the return.

I'm working on this.

A few years ago we saw the movie Ratitoulle.  I remember very little about it except that there was a rat, it was about cooking, and there was a moment when a character, an acerbic restaurant critic, declared, "I don't like food. I love it.  If I don't love it, I don't swallow."

I think that's a good gauge. 

Whenever I shop, I'll try to make this my litmus test.  If I don't love it, I don't need to buy it -- not even if it's on ridiculously good clearance or a steal at a resale shop.  I can pass.

In Ratitoulle, the result is a restaurant critic who's thin. In shopping, the result is a wallet that's fatter, fewer returns, and a child who can quickly respond that the opposite of buy is sell.

Photo compliments of Jeff Christiansen, Flickr.com

2 comments:

  1. I love your blog..it's so cute! I'm your newest follower! come follow me back and lets keep in touch! ....by the way, that's an adorable picture of your family in the corner of your blog....love it! :)

    www.justcherishtoday.com

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