By Diane Ako
Why do I bother taking my husband shopping with me? He's probably asking why he bothers to come with me.
We were at a department store to buy Olivia's Christmas gift (a scooter she requested) and I got sidetracked right away by the gift wrap section with already-marked-down rolls of paper. It's not even Christmas Eve yet.
I'm one of those ladies who LOVES a sale so I made us stop to look at the cute choices. "Do you like this or this?" I asked him repeatedly. It was clear he could care less because he first started answering, "Yes."
I finally said, "You're not even listening to me."
He said, "I am."
I said, "Then which one: The reindeer or the skating polar bears?"
"The polar bears," he answered a little too quickly.
"I can tell you're just saying that to shut me up," I accused. "Do you really like it?"
This is the point at which the man is painted into the proverbial corner because he said cautiously, "What is the right answer?"
"Just tell me which one you really like the best," I said.
Then he (probably made up) a little narrative about how the bears are super cute because nothing is cuter than skating polar bears and who wouldn't like a gift wrapped in that adorableness? I know this whole time he was thinking, "Shoot, she said we were just going to pick up a scooter. What just happened?"
I accepted the answer and put the skating bears in the cart. As we continued to the toy aisle, I saw already-discounted fake trees.
I've always bought a real tree, but since Olivia mentioned offhandedly she didn't care if our tree was fake or real, I thought, "This would be so convenient to pull down from the attic next year and not have to worry about watering it or sweeping up pine needles."
The real tree we have this year cost a heck of a lot as well, and then there's the whole deal about driving to a tree lot, picking one out, setting one up, all that jazz - which is a ceremony some might like, but I don't.
I went through the whole deliberation with Claus about the size (six feet? seven feet? ten feet?) and lit vs. unlit. And you know the whole conversation was:
Seven feet? Is that too big?
No, it's fine.
What about six feet?
Or maybe the ten footer since we have high ceilings?
Let's look at these display models. In real life, does the six footer look tall enough?
But is the seven footer too big?
Do we have enough ornaments for it?
You probably deduced the one-word answers were my husband's.
In his words:
"You asked the same question every time. Six foot? Lit or unlit? Seven foot? Lit or unit? Ten foot? Lit or unlit? Repeat. I was thinking, 'For God's sake, we have a tree in the cart. Can't we just move on?'"
I retorted, "Don't you understand careful deliberation is needed to ensure we have the product we like best for our home?"
He said, "Which took us one second. You were extremely decisive, until you wanted to question your decision. One hundred times. Until you got distracted by a lamp shade. Which we bought and now you want to return."
One hundred something dollars later and we hadn't even gotten to the scooter aisle.
This Christmas buying season is over and next year he's resolved NOT to come with me, even if it starts out as a simple in-n-out excursion to get one thing that we already know we want. Because now he knows it's always a bait-and-switch.
It only took him 14 years to figure that out.