Words & Banter

A Weekend Of Shopping. A Lifetime Of Memories.

Well, it was a busy weekend, and although I don't wear one of those fitness-tracking watches that count every step I take, I bet quite a lot of miles were covered. Now, before you start thinking I turned into a fitness fanatic and went hiking or did laps at the park, I'm talking about going from store to store. And at times, it felt like a scavenger hunt as my younger daughter tried to complete all her shopping for college so that she could then focus on packing for college.

Not all the miles covered were on foot, but driving from place to place meant dealing with countless parking lots, and my daughter and I felt like bunnies hopping in and out of the car. Which reminded me of when I was growing up (decades ago) and could do most of my shopping by going to a single destination – Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. (What makes me feel old is that when the mall opened in 1972, it was the first two-story shopping center on Long Island!)

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not doing that "in the good ole' days" thing where I'm finding fault with how shopping is today. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that it made me a little nostalgic for how things once were, especially when I think back to being a teenager. Weekend shopping at the mall was more of a social experience than it was about checking things off a shopping list. (Even then, I was a lover of lists.)

Fast forward to several years ago, and the concept of the shopping mall as a destination still existed. I can remember letting Natasha and Sawyer go shopping at the local First Colony Mall by themselves, giving them their first taste of independence. (Ok, so I "hung out" at a restaurant at the mall with a stack of reading material and had them check-in on a regular basis.)

By then, the shift to online shopping had already begun, and I could see it in the stores – they were less busy and some had gone out of business, and once-busy malls seemed more like ghost towns. Yet, I still preferred brick-and-mortar stores because I wanted to be able to see and touch things before I made a decision. But COVID-19 changed that. Dramatically.

People, like me, who had never really used online shopping, now were dependent on it. Previously, I'd never have considered buying groceries online (I'm not sure why I thought I needed to see and touch staples like toilet paper and laundry detergent) and restaurant delivery, which was unheard of not that long ago, was now the replacement "luxury" for going out to eat.

I can't help but wonder what the future holds for shopping, but was left speechless (not an easy thing to do) when I asked Black her thoughts,

I know you do not want a business explanation of how shopping habits have changed over the years, or details on the demise of the shopping mall. I will tell you that, over the years, I have gone through various stages of shopping – shopping to "prove" I was successful, shopping out of boredom, and shopping as a tourist when traveling. But, I can honestly say that I got the most enjoyment shopping last week … when Sawyer and I went to The Container Store to pick out things for her dorm room.
Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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Wherever you may be … we wish you a happy and healthy ’23!