Way back when I was a young mom, we had lost our home and were starting over, I remember this store that I frequented. It was called One Price Clothing and everything in it was $7. One could shop there with a certain amount of funds and know exactly how much they would spend, because each item of clothing (and shoes!) was seven bucks. And at a time when we were struggling financially, if I just had about $30 I knew I could step inside and look and then exit with four new pieces of clothing!
Being a fashion lover, this was a treat for me and I went to this store often. No, it wasn’t high quality clothing (although I did purchase a pair of pants I’d also seen in a department store), but it was trendy, cute, and something I could afford. I absolutely loved going there and facing the challenge of putting together an outfit with the little bit of money I had to spend. It really was fun! One Easter, my entire outfit was purchased there!
And then one day, I was with a group of women and one of them started talking about shopping. She made a comment about that particular store that I loved and stated how it was trash and not worth shopping. I didn’t speak up and say, “Well, I shop there and love it!” Instead, I said nothing and left that meeting and went home feeling “less than.” And it was all because of a comment someone else said about something I had loved.
I think back on that situation now, and I remember noting that I needed to be careful about what I said about places, people, experiences, needs, etc. because other ears that are listening might be offended if I put down what they place up high. For example, talking down about neighborhoods, or people groups, or fatty foods, or any subject where I think I know something about it – there might be a friend nearby that’s living and loving the very thing I despise! Something to note, for sure.
But also, I now think back and wish I had spoken up. I think my 60-something old self would speak up and say, “Well, I shop in that store and quite enjoy it!” But my 30-something young self stayed quiet. I have fond memories of that store, and now – instead of feeling ashamed at my economic situation and embarrassed to confess – I feel happy about that experience. I learned so many lessons during that stage of my life. I could find pretty outfits for less. I could still enjoy shopping with little. I could still dress up and save money.
I still prefer discount stores. I still scan the clearance aisles first, and I don’t feel the need to have the latest and the greatest. And I feel like I learned those lessons in a time of want. I also feel that over the years I’ve become more grateful and aware that what I have is a blessing, and what I have not – it’s not a curse. Some have more than I do, in material stuff. And some have less. We are neither one better than the other.
So if you find yourself in a time of luxury, give thanks. But be careful what you say when you’re around other women. And if you’re living in a time of lack at the moment, give thanks and find a cute little place to shop that you can afford and enjoy every minute.