Advice Etc.;gonzo Shopper

Article excerpt

SHOPPING PHILOSOPHY 102

Since the beginning of time, women have been the gatherers in most cultures. It's fallen to us to maintain home and hearth and the wherewithal contained therein. Translation: We shop.

Many people have come to despise shopping, and that aversion probably exists because shopping has become equated with work. "I have to buy groceries." "We need new sheets and towels." "The kids must have new shoes." Put that way, of course, it's work.

The whole point of gonzo shopping is to get the best value for the least outlay. The pursuit of used goods transforms shopping into a game - and not a trivial one, at that. When you play the game instead of toiling away, acquisition ceases to be a job and becomes a scavenger hunt.

CHRONIC COMPLAINTS

A repeated objection to shopping concerns crowded parking lots and malls full of national chain stores with the same goods, jammed with people buying the same things. That might be fun if you're six rocks from the sun.

One of the reasons Gonzo prefers the gleeful pursuit of used goods is that it tends to be less mob-oriented. Used-goods emporiums typically are located in strip centers or in free-standing buildings with proximate parking. There's no miserable schlepping through acres of asphalt, no dodging busloads of outlet day-trippers.

If you want to shop at a thrift store or consignment shop, chances are you can park right in front, walk a few steps to the front door and then be able to make a complete tour of the premises without getting pancaked even one time by shopping-cart zealots. See? The pressure is already lifting, and that's only the beginning.

BURY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS

Gonzo shopping is a great stress reliever because it requires an open mind, a willingness to explore and abdication of rigid, preconceived notions. Just feel that tension dropping from your shoulders. Aren't you pounds lighter?

We sport shoppers, in time, learn that we can't go on a hunt for the perfect little black dress. That's the surest way not to see a single scrap of black fabric all day long.

Instead, we'll set out on a shopping safari looking for something dressy. Period. No adjectives or other descriptives. …