Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Back to school shopping — but no cash, please!


I decided to continue a tradition that I started about 10 years ago when my first grandchild was going off to pre-school: back-to-school shopping. I had a ball taking my then 3-year-old granddaughter into the stores I wanted and getting her the clothes I thought she should have — aided, of course, by her mother’s list.

What a different situation it is now. 

I drove with my 13-year-old granddaughter and her 11-year-old brother to the mall in Riverhead. They both had lists they made up themselves, and knew exactly which stores we were going to visit.

I found that all I did was wait while they shopped. I could not give opinions or suggest styles. What was being shopped for seemed predetermined.

I guess we went to five different stores — all of which seemed to be staffed by men and women barely old enough to vote — and I suppose they chose the music.

Each store had its own pop music coming from speakers in the store. I found that very distracting. The kids loved it, and I was told by my grandson that one of the stores was for hipsters who liked skinny jeans and the music that goes with them.

I must admit that I am not a patient person when it comes to shopping. I am in and out very quickly. I do not shop much and I usually know what I want. I don’t like to spend the time looking for bargains. I know what size shirt I wear and do not want to go through piles of shirts just to find the right size, or settle on a shirt that’s a little larger because it’s such a good buy.

But I  know some people who shop that way. It’s always a good feeling to get a bargain, but I save those feelings for dollar store shopping. I love to believe that I have made a great dollar purchase and say to myself, for example, “Look how much I saved on this paint roller! Do you know what these cost?”

Only after using my dollar roller, did I see all the nap roll onto the wall with the paint. I learned what to avoid in my dollar purchases.

Getting back to my mall trip, I learned that at the time of purchase, nobody wanted to take hundred dollar bills. Everyone wanted plastic, and I wanted to give my credit card a break.

Even on the way back when we stopped at the new Chipotle restaurant, hundreds were not taken. They wanted plastic too.

So the next day I went back to Capital One and had a teller take back the hundreds she gave me a few days earlier and give me twenties.

I was thwarted in my attempt to use cash, but I did still have a great time shopping … and will continue soon with the grandkids in Jersey.

Meanwhile, Senior Citizens Foundation Vice President Judy Daniels told me about the next event in the Senior Smarts program. There  will be three memoir writing workshops at the Shelter Island library on September 22, 29 and October 6 from 10:30 a.m. until noon each day. The seminars will be taught by well-known author and professor Wendy Fairey and the fee for all three workshops is $75.

The program is limited to 20 attendees. To register, send a check to the Senior Citizens Foundation Senior Smarts, Box 352, Shelter Island, NY 11964.

In other senior news, I heard from kayaker Don D’Amato that the Great Peconic Race around Shelter Island was a great success.

Islander finishers in the 50+ category were: Cromwell Coulson, Donald D’Amato, Alice Dupree,  David Hoffman and Alexander Jackson.