Shopping is not my favorite pastime.
There. I admitted it.
It's not something normally heard out of a woman's mouth, I know, but you can ask my Mom or sisters.
However, when Stone and Thomas would have their too-good-to-miss night sales, we were there. It was sort of a sacred ritual, a pilgrimage you might say for the women folk and any man brave enough to get in their way.
We would plan what time to leave home and where we would park. We knew the parking garages and surface lot would be filled, so on may occasions we parked on Wheeling Hill and walked down the short alley to enter Stones via the Market Street Plaza side.
From there we would plan our attack, where our priorities would be.
For instance, if one of us sought the sheets and Thanksgiving hand towels on sale, we would head for the escalator to reach the upper floors, skipping the basement sales for on our way out.
I usually completed my shopping before anyone else because I work off a list and well, Mom liked to examine all possible bargains. It was not unusual to find me plopped down in an unoccupied chair near the basement door where I served as the dropping off point for the others as they left their purchases at my feet and headed to another department for more treasures.
I didn't mind because it gave me a chance to do some people watching. Sometimes an exasperated husband would join me and grumble about being dragged to the store to serve as a pack mule to carry the packages to the car. I empathized with him.
When Stones closed down and the other major retailers left downtown Wheeling, we were forced to move our sale-ing adventures to the Ohio Valley Mall.
I spent more time in mall chairs than stores, but I still enjoyed the hunt for a good bargain.
Today we have more ways to shop than ever before. There are still night sales and shopping on Sundays.
We can press a button on our computers or cellphones and order whatever we want online.
I have enjoyed the convenience of shopping online but it will never replace the experience of night sales or warehouse bargain days.
Now it's a matter of which sale to go to first.
Is it J.C. Penney's at The Highlands with its popular $10 off coupons or do I turn the car west and take in the anniversary sale at Macy's?
It's nice to have so many choices.
Now that the July Fourth sales are winding down, it's on to Halloween!
Heather Ziegler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.