Shopping is Fun!

May 16, 2010

Yesterday we went shopping for more fun stuff for the island.  We had been shopping before for food, but if anything that was depressing and filled with sodium and poverty (where else do you find cheap, not-so-perishable food but the Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, Fred’s, Ollie’s, etc.?)

We’ve made umpteen lists from the posts online about what to bring to various schools.  Dominica definitely sounds like the worst option, but I’m afraid that even though it has resorts, Nevis isn’t far behind.  The fact that I won’t have a car down there worries me so I’m packing even more liberally, making sure that I don’t run out of things I won’t easily have access to.  I adore shoes and accessories, but the necessity of having to bring so much food is limiting my packing space for other things, like shoes, so I have had to make my choices about what I will bring, carefully.

On the one hand, I’d like to bring a few sturdy T-shirts and outfits so that I can have more space for other things, but on the other hand, the practical side of my brain says “Hi, you know you’re going to be doing all your laundry in the sink, right?  If you bring big, beefy T-shirts, it’s going to take them hours to dry.”  That’s right.  I had neglected to remember that since the cost of laundry is roughly outrageous and requires hunting the dormlord down for laundry machine tokens.  I’m going to be doing my own laundry.  Thankfully I’ll have two sinks, so hopefully it won’t be an issue of can’t but rather don’t want to or don’t have enough time to.  So, not only will thin T-shirts dry faster, but they’ll take up less room and are cheaper and easier to find.  The goal will be to wash them gently enough so that they’ll last long enough for me to fly back home in December and purchase a few replacements for them.  Finding T-shirts in December shouldn’t be that bad, right?  That’s another can of worms.  But back to shopping, we did manage to find some of the afore-mentioned thin T-shirts at Old Navy today, although they were not cheap.  $10 for a distressed T-shirt?  I had something else in mind, entirely.  Last summer, I stumbled upon, what I thought at the time was a relatively good deal, at the Gap Outlet: plain v-neck t-shirts with some silly little functionless pocket on the front for like $4-$5 each.  Trying to get into that new layering fad, I bought up a bunch of them and some cami’s and have consequently worn them and loved them, especially when paired with gauchos.   Turns out, they were a total bargain!  The shirts at Gap were brand new and non-distressed and very reasonably priced; here I am in Old Navy paying $10 for $0.50 worth of fabric!  And what really frosted my cookie was that I found an old Earth Day T-shirt that I thought looked cool and retro that fit in exactly with the distressed, thin T-shirts except that it had a different graphic and the date on the front and it rang up for $0.97!  So wait, Old Navy can sell me two shirts of identical composure with different graphics for $9 difference in price?  No wonder there are so many of those stores, they’re making a killing!  And that’s not the best part, $10 was for the shirts on SALE!  They were originally $14.50!

While I cool down about the shirts and re-think what I can possibly bring with me to the island, I must share the exciting story about the shoes.  According to the posts, the terrain is rocky if you’re walking to school on Nevis because even though the main road is paved, most of the secondary roads, like the one the school is off of, are not.  They recommend very sturdy shoes.  I was honestly planning on buying up a bunch of those cheap Old Navy flip flops and wearing them until they died, but the students on the forums strongly advice against that.  They said that you should invest in a couple of pairs of Chacos or Keens and that they would last you during your time on the island and you would love them, and they would pay for themselves once you realized you didn’t have to make a trip into town to buy overpriced shoes that were crap and would break any way, once you had quickly broken all your cheap flip flops.  The downside?  I’m obviously going to have to bring them down in my suitcase.  There’s no way I’m trusting these pricey shoes in a barrel that could be ravaged and unattended.  I had been pricing the shoes online since I got my first pair of Chacos a couple of years ago.  Chaco’s are Grecian-style sandals with a very durable Vibram sole and straps built-in to the sole so that you just tug on them to fit your foot accordingly.  They retail for $70-95 per pair depending on the style.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon a tent sale at the Great Outdoor Company in Chapel Hill one summer for half price.  Though they were red, not my first choice of colors, I fell in love with them and have been looking to buy them siblings ever since, just not at full price.  Unfortunately during my move home, my Chacos were misplaced and I thought they’d accidentally been sent to the Salvation Army.  Mom and I spent the morning looking through the storage building and utility room for them but they were no where to be found.  I looked online at pricing but the best I could find was a 20% off/free shipping coupon that would bring the ones I wanted, black ZX2’s, down to $76 + tax.  Still not a very good deal in my opinion, so we went to Hickory to see what we could find.  Dick’s sporting goods didn’t carry them, and since our options for outdoor retailers are limited in this part of the state, I was ready to give up.  Mom remembered a place in Hickory by her office that was an outdoorsy kind of store.  I honestly wasn’t expecting much.  Mistake.  There was a very decently sized outdoor store that took up two storefronts in downtown Hickory.  And the best part was that they were having a 40% off sale on all of their clearance shoes.  Too good to be true, right?  I immediately went to the back of the store and found the exact model of Chacos that I wanted but they weren’t on sale, still $95, but a quick trip through the clearance racks and I found more Chacos, on sale!  The only women’s they had were Z1’s (no toe straps): a blue pair of ZX1’s and a black pair of Z1s, and the crazy part is that they were both women’s 10’s!  Go figure.  So even though I liked the blue ones because they were split strap like I liked, I figured the black ones would be much more functional and go with almost any T-shirt you could pair with gauchos.  Then, just as we were getting ready to head to another part of the store, I saw a pair of Keen’s!  They had 4 boxes left and 1 was a 10!  They were lime green with grey soles and just happened to match the shirt I had on perfectly.  They too were $95 with 40% off, again, another deal that I wouldn’t be able to match online, so I got those too.  I got home and was regretting not getting the blue Chacos because they were such a good deal, but then lo and behold, Mom gets this crazy burst of energy and decides that my old Chacos have to be here in the house somewhere.  She runs upstairs, dives through the closet, and produces [from dust-bunny central in the very back of the closet] my long, lost Chacos.  So, now I’ve got 3 pairs of awesome shoes that will probably last forever.

Tomorrow, today, rather, we are scheduled to head up to Boone to see Jessica, Cameron, and Ashlyn.  I have missed seeing them because we just can’t seem to get our schedules to mesh and we have oodles of clothing for Ashlyn.  But very excitingly, we must pass through Blowing Rock to get to them and we have already planned to go to Tanger Outlets and stop at the Gap Outlet.  Yea!  I’m thinking happy, positive, cheap shirt-filled thoughts.  The only problem is that Gap outlets tend to be hit or miss, so today is either going to be a major party or a major disappointment.  I’m hoping for the party.  And dinner at Outback and seeing the family will be great too!

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