I stopped at the Zellers on the way home. I needed a new hook for the back of the bathroom door, because the old one died horribly of over-exertion. I had forgotten that the Zellers was closing, that they were liquidating stock, and that the entire store was in crazy post-apocalyptic-looting mode. The other customers, too. I mention this because in the course of my victory I was nearly killed by a large blonde woman with a baby on her hip. I regret nothing. I won, after all.
Anyway. I went upstairs, heading for the hardware section, only to find that the hardware section had been gutted like a fresh fish. So I wandered around, ending up in what had been the shoe section, and managed to sort a new pair of slippers - the only *matching* pair - out of the pile (which I've actually been looking for, and I ended up buying a pair I'd looked at before, so it doesn't even count as an impulse buy!).
Then I went downstairs, realizing, as I got halfway down the escalator and actually looked at the bottom floor from above, that my chances of finding toilet paper anywhere in the building, let alone in its accustomed section, were exceedingly remote. Turned out I was right - the toilet paper section had been supplanted by the Refugee Lighting Fixtures section. I came close to buying a pretty green dangly-lamp ($5.39!), on the rationale that I would have someplace to put it when I move in a couple of months, but prevented myself on the basis that I had nowhere at all to put it now.
Then I went looking for the last item on my actual list, which was ibuprophen, because I took the last two tablets this morning and painkillers are the *last* thing one wants to be without. Tragically, the pharmacy section had also been taken over, this time, by mismatched dishes.
And there, in the midst of ugly pink mugs and misshapen wine-flutes, I saw it.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but occasionally, at crucial shopping moments, I hear my grandmother's voice in my head. Not her actual voice. More like an impulse with vocal chords. My mum's mum was the crazy shopping grandma whose favourite activity with her granddaughters (or me, at least, being the oldest) was Shopping. Every time I visited we would go shopping at least once. Grampa would drive us to Coquitlam Centre, and we would spend what seemed, at the time, an interminable number of hours walking around the mall, buying things Gramma didn't actually need, until Grampa came to pick us up, and take us out for supper. I think the shopping is the reason I now find the mere idea of shopping so exhausting. But it's also where I get my Discount Kharma.
Tonight, Gramma's voice went "Hold on! What's that?" So I stopped, and I looked, and there it was: a twenty-piece dinnerware set (so says the box). Ivy-patterned. And marked down to fourteen dollars, from eighty-four. There were two sets left, the boxes all chewed up, and I approached with suspicion, fearing the worst. I reached the shelf about three seconds before the Large Blond Woman With Baby, and she stood glaring and foot-tapping for almost five minutes, while I sorted through bits of broken dishes, before finally giving up. One box had "display set - saucer missing, plate broken" written on the outside. The other, slightly-less-mangled box had no such warning but when I peeked inside, I saw that one of the dessert plates was broken in half.
"But it's so pretty," said the Gramma voice. "And you want it. And you wanted it before, when you saw it at the Bay. Andandandandit's FOURTEEN DOLLARS!"
So I, my grandmother's granddaughter, sat down on the floor, pulled down both boxes, and mix-and-match, switching whole plates for broken ones, cups from one box to the other, and supplementing missing plates until I ended up with one whole set, all the while glancing over my shoulder like any second store security will come tearing around the corner to throw me in Clearance Sale Jail for box-switching. Then I was laughing so hard at the idea that Zellers has any kind of security that I almost dropped the completed box.
But I put back the now completely-useless reject set, picked up my set, and made it to the counter - where an elderly East Indian woman congratulated me on my Discount Victory. Then, the cashier scanned it, and it turned out that the pretty, hard-won dishes were actually only $8.40. As in, eight dollars and forty cents. As in, OMG PRETTY DISHES DIRT-CHEAP. (EDIT: No, seriously, I have paid more for potting soil.)
I had to carry the box home, in a rather awkward position, and now my arms are all twitchy and sore, but it was all worth it because I got a 20-piece set of dishes for eight dollars and forty cents.
Now I just need an excuse to *use* the pretty dishes.
My discount kharma? It's back. So... who wants to go clothes shopping? I won't even buy anything. You can just stand close to me and I can find pretty cheap things. Like a discount-finding rabbit's foot. But more useful. And not as creepy.
EDIT: Yes, I did just realize that I just spent fifteen minutes gushing about the pretty dishes. I'm done now. ;)
MATERIALISTIC WHORE EDIT: Prettypretty Cup in Prettypretty Saucer, with tea in.