Are you a shopper? Do you love just browsing around, riffling through racks, daydreaming about where you might wear that purple pashmina? Do you just love whiffing the perfume samples? Do clearance racks make you swoon? Then we have nothing at all in common.

I hate to shop. I like to get in there and get out as fast as humanly possible. With the exception of pet stores, where I can spend blissful minutes studying the Nylabones, there isn’t one retail establishment I like to linger in.

So I make a plan. Need a gray tunic? Well, damn it, there has to be one in this American chain store. The one that sells groceries, furniture, has a pharmacy, and a toy department—thank God for these places, where they have it all.

I determine that if there is no gray tunic in this store, there just isn’t one—they don’t exist. And since all the women in the ladies’ rag magazines are wearing them with their black leggings, then they must have them in this particular store.

So I determine that one way or another, I will find the tunic. Or a good approximation thereof. Because I simply refuse to leave without the thing I need, and IT IS IN HERE SOMEPLACE.

I start in the women’s section. Logical. Nothing. Not worried. I go to the sport apparel section. I pick up something that might work. Plunk it in cart. Not satisfied, but I reconnoiter after I have seen everything. I go through the clearance rack. Some possibles. There is a blue one, but I need gray. I could change my game plan, but not quite yet. There is still more ground to cover. Throw it in the cart, though, in case I do a complete turnaround.

The plus sizes. Because what is a tee shirt for one larger woman might just work as a tunic for me. You have to think outside the box. I find a black one. No. But I throw it in, just in case. You have to garner the choices, as I mentioned. This is part of the strategy. It saves circling back for things you saw earlier.  And aren’t those salespeople paid to put stuff back? Rather than gossiping at the register while ignoring hapless shoppers? I thought so. No guilt about the reject pile in the cart. It’s part of the game, people!

Not ready to admit defeat. Not me. I go to the pajama section. A short, gray nightgown might work as a tunic. SCORE. But it has lace on the sleeves. I am not lacy.  I don’t even put this one in the cart, because I have one more place to search.

And just as I thought. The men’s tee shirt section. There is a V neck, long sleeved tee in a man’s size Large. But wait. It isn’t long enough—so I look on the TALL rack. And there it is, as if it has been waiting for me. A V neck, extra long tee. Perfect for the leggings. And on sale.

I always leave with my goal achieved. It’s a gift. I feel like those “power of positive thinking” people. Those people who say “If you believe it, then you will see it.” You just have to have faith that if you look hard enough and never give up, the tunic will manifest itself to you.

Dale Carnegie must have hated shopping as much as I do.

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