The joy of shopping — or not

I’m not much of a shopper.

I guess I should amend that to say I do like to shop for certain stuff — like groceries and paper products but I don’t like to shop for clothes, shoes, jewelry or houses.

In fact of the five homes that my husband Mike and I have purchased during our 52 years of wedded bliss and blisters, I have seen only two of them before we actually purchased them. Mike has had to do the other purchases on his own (one in Lewiston, Idaho, the next in Chehalis and then one in Aberdeen) and he’s done a great job. Our friends are amazed that I didn’t check out the houses before we signed on the bottom line but I’m really not that picky about where I live — a sturdily built house, enough bathrooms and bedrooms, and a decent neighborhood and I’m good to go.

As for clothes and shoes, shopping for them is nothing but aggravating for me. Too many choices, they’re usually too expensive, and trying on stuff at the store is annoying. So for years, I’ve found a style I like, order (from a catalogue or online) an assortment of the same style in different colors and I’m set for years.

And I don’t buy jewelry — ever. I’ve been wearing the exact same jewelry for over 50 years — my wedding ring, a POW bracelet and a gold cross necklace that Mike gave me when we got engaged.

But shopping for groceries — that’s fun. I’m not sure what the attraction is for me but perhaps it’s related to my childhood when every Saturday afternoon Dad and I would go grocery shopping. I have vivid memories of going to Prairie Market in Longview, where we’d push this big wooden cart through the aisles of canned goods (stacked in the original boxes they came in) and we got to write the price on each can with a grease pencil.

What an adventure that was!

And still to this day, I love to go shopping for food and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I shop the sales and save some money.

There are groceries and paper products I absolutely refuse to buy unless they’re on sale — cream of mushroom soup, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green beans, canned corn, kidney beans, tuna fish, pasta, Multi-grain Cheerios, Quaker Oat Squares, flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, paper towels and toilet paper.

And when I find those items on sale, I have to buy a lot of them in case they don’t go on sale again for a long time. In fact, I’m so accomplished at “stocking up” that we have two pantries in the house and one in the garage that are packed full of canned goods.

Last time our youngest daughter Tami was down visiting she said, “Mom, if there’s ever a natural disaster in Washington state, we’re coming to live with you and dad ’cause you have enough groceries in your cupboards to feed the whole family for a month!”

That’s probably a slight exaggeration but we do have a good supply of soups, vegetables, fruits, tuna, TP, etc.

I’ve got to go now — it’s time to check out this week’s grocery ads to see what bargains are out there and make my shopping list. I’m sure I can cram a few more items in the pantries.

Karen Barkstrom is editorial assistant at The Daily World. She can be reached at 360-537-3925, or