I rarely buy new clothing. I shop mostly at thrift stores, and I still proudly wear the same Grand Funk Railroad t-shirt I bought in 1975 when I saw them in concert at the Toledo Sports Arena. (They rocked, BTW.)
But when I truly must buy something new, I have a simple rule of thumb: I only buy my clothing at stores that also sell pork chops, in bulk. You know, big box stores -- a.k.a. membership warehouse stores -- like COSTCO, Sam's Club, and similar chains.
If you're a cheapskate like me who hates shopping, big box stores have two major advantages. First, of course, are their competitive prices. The per unit cost of items sold at big box stores is consistently lower than the regular retail or even sale price of the same item at other stores. Of course you need to factor in the annual membership fee ($30 or so), but most shoppers recoup that in just a few visits.
But even more important to those of us suffering from SAD (Shopping Anxiety Disorder), the other major advantage of big box stores is their incredible lack of selection.
For example, you'll probably only find one or two styles of men's slacks at a big box store, each available in three colors. You load one pair of each color onto your flatbed shopping cart, content knowing that your slackification needs are met through at least the next three presidential administrations, and then you high tail it over to the free cheese sampling station at the back of the store. Simple, painless, cheap ... and free brie.
But my love of big box stores sparked a heated debate recently with a friend of mine. She contends that big box stores represent -- and encourage -- the gross over consumption that we both agree plagues our nation. An ardent environmentalist (well, so am I), she feels that big box stores are the antithesis of "green." But consider my case for big box stores as a greener choice:
I admit that low prices paired with free cheese cubes are an aphrodisiac for my Inner Miser, but I'll stick by my contention that big box stores are also a greener choice when it comes to shopping. What do you think?
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