Yesterday's Magazette

14 – No Sale Here

No Sale Here

By Glenda Barrett

With a scowl on his face, my father marched into the living room, turned to my mother and said, “I told you there is no such thing as a sale!”

Hearing the commotion, my ten-year-old curiosity was stirred, so I looked to see what was the matter. My father was  dressed in a tan-colored coat with a dark fur collar with matching khaki colored pants. I couldn’t see a problem at all. However, it soon became evident as he stomped out of the room, murmuring words that Momma wouldn’t let me repeat.

His coat, so gorgeous from the front, was an entirely different matter from the back. The bottom of the coat had curled in several rolls and was climbing up his back toward his shoulders. I collapsed in a fit of giggles at the sight of the coat on his six-foot frame as he marched out of the room.

Momma always preferred to shop in some of the cheaper stores and buy several items on sale, while my father chose to spend his money quite differently.

Each year, he went to Sears or J.C. Penney’s and bought a few pants and shirts of good quality, and they usually lasted him until the next year. Having been a Navy man, he took a lot of pride in his appearance.

In my growing up years, I had a few experiences that were similar to my father’s. As I type this, I can still picture the blouse vividly in my mind. It was such a soft shade of blue with gray strips about a half-inch wide running through it. The cloth was combed cotton, and the blouse felt comfortable, not scratchy, so for the first time I wore it to church one Sunday morning. When the service was almost over, and I was flipping through my songbook, I noticed something wrong with my hands. They were turning black and blue.

My first thought was, my circulation is going bad! Surely I don’t have heart problems at my age! I had also heard bruising was a sign of leukemia. As I looked closer though, I saw some of the same color on my skirt as well. Then, I put two and two together and decided it must be the blouse fading because it had never been washed.

When I got home and took the blouse off, not one button but three popped off and fell to the floor. Disgusted, I threw the blouse aside, never to wear it again.

My next encounter was not clothes, but a vacuum cleaner. It was a day in early autumn, and my allergies were at their peak when a salesman knocked on the door. Begging to demonstrate his vacuum cleaner, he entered my house.

Holding a Kleenex to my nose to keep it from dripping, I watched and listened as he ran the vacuum across the floor and assured me it would pick up all kinds of allergens. It even had a container filled with water showing the amount of dirt it picked up. My head throbbed as he pulled the papers from his brief case for me to sign. Thinking about all the relief I would get from my allergies, I gladly closed the deal.

From  that moment on though, I despised that vacuum cleaner. Even though it worked well, it was awkward to use, and unfortunately my allergies didn’t improve one bit. Not only that, I had to make monthly payments for a long time, long enough to pay over $800.00, and that was considered a lot of money back then.

I handled my last encounter a bit differently. I saw the ad in the paper “Kenmore Sewing Machine for Sale,” so I decided to go have a look. My mother had taught me a good bit about sewing, and I needed a good machine. I walked into the store and asked to see the machine that was on sale. A bright looking young man came immediately to help me.

However, I soon found out he was not as eager to show me the machine on sale as the other more expensive one sitting beside it. I listened for a bit and was beginning to get irritated, but I decided to stand my ground, to get what I thought would suit me for a change. Finally, when he saw that I was determined to buy the one on sale, he relented.

Once again, a deal was made, fortunately, this time with good results. Just recently, while listening to the hum of my machine, I realized that it has been running smoothly for over thirty years now. I smile every time I think of that deal.

Over the years, while fluctuating between my mother’s and father’s shopping habits, I have learned some lessons of my own. Like my mother, I am thrilled to hear of a good sale, and at times like my father, I prefer to buy a more expensive item.

However, there is one thing I always do. Whatever I buy, I take my time and look it over carefully. I inspect it for flaws, handle the material, read the labels and try it before making my final purchase because in the background I can still always hear my father’s words loud and clear, “There is no such thing as a sale!”

* Glenda Barrett, a native of North Georgia is an artist, poet and writer. Her paintings are on an online gallery called, and at this time her first poetry chapbook titled, “When the Sap Rises,” is on display on Glenda’s work has been published in Woman’s World, Kaleidoscope, Nostalgia, Farm & Ranch Living, Rural Heritage, Psychology for Living, Smoky Mountain Living, Georgia Magazine, Living with Loss Magazine and others.

Vol. 36 No. 2 – Yesterday’s Magazette – Spring – 2009


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