And this is why I should never (by never I mean ALWAYS) go shopping with my mother

I have to buy a new car. Gil and I are planning to move to Colorado this summer, and I have to have a car that can handle the snow – I don’t think my Hyundai Veloster is going to hack it.

I started thinking about this last year and narrowed it down to 2 different cars. One was practical and had an amazing safety rating. And the other got about half the gas mileage and was apparently discontinued this year because they would have had to overhaul it for “regulatory reasons” involving safety and they decided it wasn’t worth it. Too bad – it came in bright yellow and would have been wonderfully obnoxious.

On the plus side, it helped narrow down my choice. I’d already test driven the non-deathtrap one, knew I loved it, and a few weeks ago made the mental decision I was going to buy it before spring. But before I could really pull the trigger, I had to make sure Gil would be comfortable in it since I make him drive a lot. Like when the roads are windy. Or it’s dark. Or raining a lot. Or there is red wine.

So I dragged him to the dealership on a Saturday and made him sit in it and then test drive it. The only acceptable answer when your partner has decided something already and is just looking for your seal of approval is obviously “I love it!” Unless of course it’s so uncomfortable it’s pinching nerves or something. I’m not sure Gil ever actually got that memo. He said that of all the crossover-type SUV’s, this was the “least hideous” and he had enough room for his 6’3″ frame, so I’m gonna choose to hear that as “I love it!” Side note: I bought my tiny Hyundai almost exactly a year before I met Gil – the fact he’s been bending himself into a pretzel for the past few years has always made me feel a little guilty, so I’m really happy to be upgrading to something with more space.

While we were on the lot, the guy was talking about the different trim levels, as sales guys do, and we were walking through what was important to me. I think you should probably know that I’ve been working in sales for a decade, and yet I am still the EASIEST person in the world to upsell. I can’t explain it. (Actually I think I CAN, but it’s probably got something to do with endorphins and a shopping addiction, and I figure it’s best not to pull at that thread.)

But apparently these guys don’t actually work on commission at this dealer group, so he was super low-pressure. Actually recommended I not get the highest trim level, since the biggest difference is leather upholstery and heated seats and I said those weren’t important to me.

Until I got home and launched into what is one of my greatest gifts – rationalizing spending more money. I do this on vacations too, but basically the thinking goes “If I’m going to be spending ‘X’ (X being a significant amount of money) on this, it really makes sense to just spend 10-20% more to get what I REALLY want instead of just settling. It would be irresponsible to spend that kind of money and not fully enjoy it.” I mean, I’m pretty persuasive. I can pretty much upsell myself – the sales guys don’t even have to work me over.

I called my mom that night, and she knew we had been looking at cars that day. First thing out of her mouth when she answered the phone: “Well, how’s the new car?” SHE GETS ME. I told her I just had to make a final decision about important things like heated seats, and she reminded me that my wimpy California ass will not be used to cold weather and it was definitely worth thinking about.

So I started dreaming about heated leather seats in the snowy tundra of Colorado and all of sudden I had sold myself into the highest trim level. Gil happened to hear snippets of my internal sales pitch to myself later that night, followed by my announcement that I was going to go back the next day and buy the damn thing. He suggested I wait a week before making any rash decisions. Because according to him, I make impulsive decisions when it comes to shopping.

“Excuse me??” I practically squawked at him. “You may not realize it, but I NEVER make impulsive decisions. I internalize my thought process and research and mull it over for quite awhile. Only once I’ve gone through that whole process do I reach a PRACTICAL decision. And I just happen to be someone who acts very quickly once a decision has been made.” It was a beautiful monologue, full of passion and conviction. I mean, that’s how I heard it. I was totally convinced by the time I was done with myself. He basically just rolled his eyes and walked away.

I was fully prepared to ignore that kind of crazy talk, but that week as I was running errands and dreaming about my car, I called my mom to see if she wanted to go to Bed Bath & Beyond with me since there were a few things I needed. OK, see, so the thing is…. the “beyond” part of Bed Bath & Beyond is actually kind of amazing these days. There is stuff that you didn’t even realize you NEEDED until you actually see it. It’s more dangerous than Target.

We’re working our way around the store, and I’m finding gems like full fur throw pillows that would actually tie in really well with the blanket I just bought. And Gil and I are always fighting over the 3 tiny pillows on our massive couch, so really those pillows would be practical AND benefit our relationship. My mom totally agreed. I had the self-restraint not to buy any (very reasonably priced) wall art that we have no room for in our condo so if anything, Gil should be impressed with my lack of impulse purchasing. If I gave into all the impulses I actually have, I’d have to get another storage unit.

Gil keeps telling me to stop buying things and bringing them into the house since we’re going to have to pack and move all this shit in the near future. Pfffft. I have a system for that. I just leave my purchases at my parents’ house and then have them give them to me as “gifts” for different holidays. No way he can tell me I can’t accept a gift FROM MY PARENTS without looking like a total ass. My parents are seriously the best. Also, I think there is a chance Gil might figure out my brilliant plan now.

So anyway, back to BB&B. We were making our final lap around the store when I saw it. A plastic toy with the words “HUNGRY BEAR” across the box – inside was a (duh) hungry bear with a huge open mouth, see-through belly and big pink dangling tongue. With an air gun to shoot yellow balls in its mouth. And it made noise. And it was on clearance. Plus my mom reminded me I had a 20% off coupon. It would have been irresponsible NOT to jump on something like that. I mean, Gil’s really had a stressful year, and I figured this might bring out the child in him and make him laugh a little. Basically, if I didn’t buy it, I’d be a bad girlfriend and I just couldn’t live with that. So into the cart it went.

hungry bear

hungry bear in action

As we were walking to the check out counter, I looked down at my cart. Full of fur pillows and a giant brown bear with a gun. And I thought…. maybe Gil has a point.

But then my mom reminded me I should spend my money however I want and I snapped right out of it and marched right to the register.

Basically the moral of the story is that I should always take my mom with me when I go shopping. When I head to the car dealership and have to make the final decision to sign on the dotted line, she’s the one I’m bringing with me.

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