No Telling What You’ll Buy

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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All summer I watched the building progress from the demolished shell of an old department store to a modern, gleaming beacon for shoppers everywhere: a new Nordstrom. And a mere five minutes from my house. A teenager with size 10 feet is no laughing matter, and I had grown up hating to shop for shoes. Thus the stage had been set years earlier for a lifetime love affair when I walked into my first Nordstrom to a dizzying display of shoes my size in every color and style.

Now I shamelessly inked the store opening on my calendar. When the big day arrived, my dear husband suggested I pass through those polished doors to buy something for a party we would attend the next night, and five minutes later, to the strains of live piano music, I was blissfully browsing through new fashions. After 45 minutes and two dressing room trips in the huge store, I still had not found an outfit. But my luck was about to change.

Entering the last department, I was greeted by a cheery woman named Sara who asked what I was looking for and quickly whisked me off to the dressing room. For every dress that didn’t work, a new option magically appeared. Sara knew every piece of clothing in the store and had uncannily perceived my preferences. For the party, she found a black and white skirt with an exquisite flounce and matching top. Did they have the same skirt in another color? Sara said they were out, but she could easily order another. Oh, I was a football fan? Sara breezed in with a tank top in University of Texas burnt orange, an Austin store exclusive. And so it went. When I reached the cash register, I realized that a trip for a single outfit had turned into a shopping bonanza, and I hadn’t even made it to the shoe section.

Back home, I anxiously eyed my pile of purchases. My goal to buy a single outfit, thereby staying within a reasonable budget, had succumbed to Sara’s goal to sell me as many clothes as possible. Nordstrom’s legendary customer service had worked its charm. I would like to say this was a temporary judgment lapse or momentary amnesia, but it’s actually familiar terrain to lose sight of my priorities for a time.

The world is full of alluring distractions. The consequences may be as tangible as a bounced check or more subtle and difficult to discern. Henry David Thoreau said, “In the long run you hit only what you aim for.” To that, I would add, “When you forget what you’re aiming for, no telling what you’ll buy.”

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