Thursday, November 20, 2008

The best shopping trip ever

So our church is working with the "Samaritan's Purse" people to provide gifts for disadvantaged children. The idea is that you stuff a shoebox, or similar-sized container, with goodies -- they provide good/bad lists (chocolate is on the "bad" list, probably because of tropical temperatures in transit), add some cash for shipping, and they take it from there. I saw no spare shoe-boxen lying around, so with encouragement from the younger teen, opted for the container.

Last night I went to Target (pronounced tahr-JAY by some of us pseudo-sophisticates) and roamed around before asking (hey, I'm a guy) about shoebox-sized containers. The helpful staff led me right to them -- less than $2 for a Made-in-USA plastic box of just the right size.

Then I found stuff to go into it: toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and comb set, a box of 24 real wood pencils, a sharpener, and 3-pack of Pink Pearl® erasers. A box of eight Crayola® crayons (which claim to be "preferred by teachers", maybe because of the low price). A notebook. A pack of Post-It™s. Multi-colored paper clips of two kinds (the binder-clip kind and the kind French people call "trombones"). An Etch-A-Sketch™ (that  brought back some memories for me). As I placed each item into the box (I wanted to make sure they'd all fit), I imagined the recipient discovering it. Oh, I could use this for... (or My friends and I could...). The whole thing put me in a good mood.

And for my last purchase: a T-shirt. By the way I wandered around (hey, I'm a guy) any semi-observant person could have told I never buy girls’ clothing there. Eventually, though, I found the T-shirts, excuse me, the tops.  There were some plain ones, and some with fancy designs on the front -- pictures of way too much jewelry, but cute. Yeah, I spent the extra $2 for the fancier one.

The whole thing cost me less than $50 -- less than $40 actually, since the younger teen had donated $10. I think I've enough cash in my wallet for shipping the box. I can't recall the last time I had so much fun in a public place. (Actually I can, but I won't tell you about it here. It was in Hokkaido, and what happens in Hokkaido stays in Hokkaido.)


But when I got home, I completely forgot about a 7:30pm phone appointment with someone in Bangalore -- until 90 minutes after the fact. Imagine my embarrassment! So I'm wearing my Alzheimer's Association T-shirt today.

He graciously allowed me to reschedule it for 6:30 this morning, though, and we had a great conversation.

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