I Bought Vegas

Sep 28, 2015 by

“Shopping is an experience.”

– Fairy Shoe Mother M


          On Friday afternoon, I forced myself to the mall. I’ve been in desperate need of shoes. My daily flats, which I bought in the fall of 2012, were so worn that both my mom and my youngest sister thought they were made of cloth, like ballerina slippers. I assure you they used to have substantial soles, and I swear I didn’t notice the hole in the bottom of the right one until a few weeks ago.

          Other than the stop I had to make at Victoria’s Secret (you know the only exception to my hatred for shopping is underwear shopping, because trying on lacy things is fun!), I was not looking forward to this. I got to the mall shortly after 3 pm, hoping to be out of there by 5 pm (5:30 pm in Maria time). According to my receipt, my last transaction went through at 9:16 pm. The mall had closed at 9 pm.

          Earlier in the evening, as I was approaching the last shoe store I could think of, I contemplated giving up and going home. I hadn’t seen anything I liked in any of the other shoe stores in the mall – not to mention all the shoe stores in the two other malls I had visited earlier in the week that had turned up nothing. By this point, I was so over the whole owning-non-broken-shoes thing. But I knew copping out then would only force me to another mall on another day, and the idea of that made me want to collapse, so I powered on.

          It was like every shoe store before it had been leading to that last one. I wanted everything! Finally, shoes I liked! My eyes immediately darted to the ankle boots I wasn’t there to buy but ultimately would. When a nonna walks into a shoe store and raves about the beautiful shoes you’re wearing but don’t own, with both of her hands on her cheeks like she’s in shock, you buy the shoes.

          Better than the shoes at the store, though, were the two girls working there, who I am officially referring to as my fairy shoe mothers. For ease of storytelling, let’s nickname them Fairy Shoe Mother M and Fairy Shoe Mother K.

          “My prom shoes – my prom shoes,” Fairy Shoe Mother K said with emphasis, “I’ve only worn once – no, twice – since, but they’re beautiful.”

          “So were mine!” I told the girls. “But – I don’t know how this happened – I lost one. On prom night! Funny,” I said, more to myself than to them, “that wasn’t the first time I had lost one shoe.”

          Fairy Shoe Mother M laughed from the cash register.

          “You’re still waiting for your prince,” Fairy Shoe Mother K said from atop the ladder she was using to primp shoe displays.

          “I love that!” I said with my mouth agape. “I am so glad I came in here! That,” I told them, “could not be more true!”

          I didn’t go into how true by explaining that I’ve been single my whole life. I was too distracted by the pile of beauty before me. I had already tried on enough shoes to revive my teenage self’s appreciation for them.

          “You really are Cinderella,” Fairy Shoe Mother M said as she came out of the backroom with more boxes of shoes I had requested to try. “Every shoe fits. That never happens. We’re usually missing someone’s size in something.”

          I looked down at my growing roster of potential shoe purchases and then up to Fairy Shoe Mother M. “Are there any discounts for buying a lot of shoes?” I asked her.

          “We’re going to do something for you,” she assured me, “because I feel like I’m shopping with a friend.”

          “Aw!” I squealed with my hand pressed to my heart. “We’ll exchange Facebook info before I leave.”

          I continued to sort through shoes as Fairy Shoe Mother K listed all of the ones she owns. Her sandals alone nearly surpassed my entire shoe collection.

          “Whoa,” I said. “I have one pair of flats that are broken, which is why I’m here; two pairs of heels – one black and one red – and the black ones are broken, which is also why I’m here; one pair of sandals; one pair of ankle boots; one pair of nice winter boots; and one pair of real winter boots.”

          Fairy Shoe Mother M and Fairy Shoe Mother K dropped their jaws.

          “How do you do it?” Fairy Shoe Mother K asked.

          “Teach me your ways!” Fairy Shoe Mother M pleaded.

          “I literally don’t shop,” I laughed. “My little sister says I need to start buying clothes before I have to buy an entire wardrobe all at once and can’t afford it. I’m pretty sure I’m already there. I did buy two skirts for $60-something on my way to Victoria’s Secret today though, so I feel accomplished.”

          “You did good! That store is not cheap!” Fairy Shoe Mother M pointed at the bag containing my new skirts.

          Other customers came and went as I slipped my feet in and out of shoe after shoe.

          “This is going to sound really random,” Fairy Shoe Mother M prefaced after cashing someone out, “but what month is your birthday?”

          “November,” I answered.

          “Okay, well, now it’s in September,” she said, “so you can get 20 percent off.”

          “Oh my God, really?”

          “Yeah! It’s basically October anyway, which is basically November.”

          “Thank you!” I beamed.

          I was still trying on shoes when Fairy Shoe Mother K closed the doors of the store.

          “Oh my God, you’re closing!” I noticed as Fairy Shoe Mother M returned from the back with yet more shoes in my size.

          “Oh, don’t worry,” they both responded in nonchalance.

          “I’ll be quick!” I promised.

          As I tried on two more pairs, my fairy shoe mothers were reviewing the conditions of a promotion.

          “Sorry,” Fairy Shoe Mother M said, “you don’t know what we’re talking about. We’re trying to tweak a promotion for you,” she explained.

          “Is it still my birthday?” I asked hopefully.

          “Yes, it’s still your birthday,” she laughed. “We have a promotion starting Monday that gets you a gift card for buying a certain amount in shoes. We’re going to change the start date to today for you.”

          “You ladies are amazing!” I shrieked.

          I narrowed my choices down to four shoes: two flats, one black heel, and the ankle boots that caught my eye at the start. They originally totaled $531.10. My birthday discount, which the girls said I could still use during my actual birthday month, brought that down to $424.88.

          Because I spent over $300 before taxes and they tweaked the promotion starting Monday to start Friday for me: “You get a gift card for $150,” Fairy Shoe Mother M told me.

          “It really is my birthday!” I excitedly responded, making her laugh. “Thank you guys so much!”

          On top of that, when I go back to buy a fifth shoe – which I most definitely will because I have 150 shoe dollars – I get a sixth pair free!




          After getting home from the mall on Friday night, I knocked on my youngest sister’s bedroom door.

          “You’re going to be so proud,” I said as she answered.

          “There you are! You knock on my door at least once a day, and you haven’t yet today. I was like, where is this girl?”

          I laughed as my heart melted. “I bought shoes!” I announced as I entered her room with my shopping bags in hand.

          “How much did you buy?” she asked with her eyebrows raised in surprise at my bags.

          “I bought four pairs of shoes and two skirts, and I went to Victoria’s Secret. I spent $609.63 in total, the most I’ve ever spent on a shopping trip.”

          My sister clasped her hand to her heart. “To have money,” she said.

          “I don’t have much after this!” I joked.

          “I’m so surprised. Usually, you’re like, ‘I could go on vacation.’”

          “That’s what I was telling the girls at the store! Every time I contemplate spending $90 or more, I’m like, ‘I could go to New York.’ But I’m going to New York, so that’s irrelevant,” I shrugged.

          “When are you going?”

          “Tuesday to Thursday. Oh wait, did I not tell you?”

          I updated her on my NYC plans (by the way, friends, I’m going to NYC) as I showed her my new shoes and skirts.

          “Oh, that’s really cute,” she said as I modeled the burgundy skirt I bought.

          “I know! Aren’t you proud?”

          “Yes! You spent more than $20!”

          “I know!” I said, double high-fiving her.

          “A lot more than $20!”

          “I really could have gone on vacation,” I said as I packed my new shoes back in the bag.

          “That analogy is spot on,” my sister agreed.

          “I legit could have gone to Vegas,” I realized. “But sometimes, it’s more important to feel good on a daily basis, and part of that is having shoes with soles,” I smiled.

Happiness Tip: Make shopping an experience.

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