I Believe In Shopping For Sales

Emma - New York, New York
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in shopping the sale rack.

I don’t know how I first began this practice, but I do know that I haven’t paid retail in a good two years. It makes me uncomfortable.

I like the things on sale better. The things on sale are like the awkward kids, sitting at a table off to the side during lunch. They’re not the easiest kids to like. You don’t always see them at parties and they don’t fit perfectly, but they’re still pretty cool. I like to think it takes a little bit of gumption to buy the clothes society has dictated are worth 25% less than all the others. It’s like a challenge: to be creative, to pull off the color, to feel good about yourself, to make it work. A challenge to show people that behind the awkward pocket or green that’s just a little too grassy there is a somebody – a creative somebody – who gives things a second chance. It’s nice to think that a store is composed of merchandise waiting to be taken home, to live and to be loved. I think we all start out like that. Every week or so more shipments come and go, but a few things are still on the shelf, untouched, unwanted, unreasonably priced. So I want to think that when one of these red sticker-marked items gets touched by my hands, or put on my body, they are really happy. They feel wanted. They feel loved. That’s what I try to imagine.

Love is funny. It feels sometimes like we’re being manufactured for it. Why do we shop at all if not to do our best, to look our best, to feel our best, so as to attract the perfect mate? Everyone on Earth is waiting for love, or else wallowing in it. I waited a long time. Granted, I’m not the best bargain. I can be demanding and depressive. I push people away, I’m proud. I’m imperfect. And I’m awkward.

So imagine my surprise when somebody came and took me into their world and, more than that, wore me and made me work. I know, especially when you’re young, you outgrow things, so I’m not expecting to be kept forever. I’ll probably get donated or loaned or left alone somewhere, but I’ll always know the feeling of having belonged to someone.

All of us leave things on the shelf: stories we aren’t proud of, friendships we’ve neglected, and feelings we’ve repressed. It’s not always easy or even possible to see the potential in something. But to pick something up, try it on, and try to make it work, is the greatest thing you can ever do. To make something work, you have to really want it. And everybody in the world wants to be wanted. I believe in giving everyone a chance to feel that way. I believe there’s enough love in the world for all of us. I believe in shopping the sale rack.