Posts Tagged ‘shopping’
May 2, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
Last Friday I wrote about an encounter with the platinum card–carrying elite. But this is a two-part story, you see. For many years later, long after that glimpse into the lives of the rarefied, I found myself at the local flea market.
This is a sort of addiction in my family: even when houses are being sold and divested or apartments are bursting at their meager seams or neighbors have called the city to complain about the sheds on our property (depending on the generation), we are incapable of curbing our need for “bargains.” We brake for thrift shops; we brake hard for furniture on the curb; we scour the local papers for tag, yard, or garage sales. Read More »
April 29, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
It’s not as if I could afford it. I could never have afforded a nightgown that expensive, and in that moment of my life—marginally employed, tenuously housed, financially and otherwise insecure—I could afford it even less than usual. The week before, a piece of my tooth had fallen out, a jagged shard, its edges brown with decay. I kept it in a dish by my bed. It had become an object of some fascination, but I really needed to go to the dentist.
But I wanted that nightgown so much. I craved it as I hadn’t craved a thing since childhood. It was, in fact, the sort of thing I hadn’t wanted since childhood—feminine and pretty and frivolous. A whisper-thin slip of cotton so fine, so precious, that it transcended price and moved into the realm of the divine. Read More »
April 25, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
“How are you?” asked a smiling acquaintance on the street.
“Well, I’m pretty down about Prince—but aren’t we all?” I said reprovingly.
“Oh yes,” she murmured. “Of course.” I saw her blinking quickly in an effort to summon tears. “It’s the end of an era, isn’t it?” Read More »
April 20, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
When I rejoined my husband, the first thing he said was, “I love that perfume!”
“That’s just as well,” I said shortly.
Here’s what had happened: I’d taken refuge from the weather in a shop. Guiltily aware that I wouldn’t be buying anything, I sniffed at a series of perfume stoppers. Some customer in a fishing hat, a pair of white socks with sandals, and a bag with a picture of Liza Minnelli on it was chattering with the saleswoman about the exorbitant price of neighborhood tea and his depression. “Maybe some cologne will help your day,” said the saleswoman. Read More »
April 18, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
I used to like buying cheese. You could say it was one of the small, reliable pleasures of my week. I never bought a great deal—usually just a small piece to eat for lunch with some bread and fruit—but I enjoyed the process of tasting and learning and then bearing home the neatly wrapped little waxed-paper bundle.
The cheese guy was nice, too. Knowledgeable without making a big show of it, authoritative without snobbery, and pleasantly detached. It was this detachment, in a way, that allowed me to enjoy the transaction—he never made a big fuss about my being a regular. I felt slightly invisible, but in the best possible way. It would have been awkward if he’d been flirtatious or overly friendly. And he never made me try more cheeses than I wanted, which I thought was nice. Read More »
April 11, 2016 | by Sadie Stein
The other day I noticed something for the first time. “Please allow all customers off the train,” said the recorded voice over the subway sound system. Customers. Not passengers, not riders: customers.
What did it mean? Something bureaucratic, obviously—but philosophically? Had the transaction at last been stripped of all artifice? Had the civic connotations of public transit been cast off in favor of naked commercialism? Or was this a simple acknowledgment that we’re paying for the ride—and that, in the way of all American customers, we are always right? Read More »