My mother loves Vanity Fair Outlets in Reading, Pennsylvania. They are 100-year old clothing factory buildings that once employed hundreds of Americans. Jobs now long-gone to overseas production of goods, the big old buildings now house the same brands once made there, but at a huge discount. The name brand mother goes for is Lee and Wrangler jeans. She was thrilled with her bargains: i.e., $8.97 for blue jeans plus a 10% discount for senior citizens on Tuesday. Hubby even took a couple pair at that price for new jeans. Me? Read on.
Now retired and having a much better understanding of money, frugal living, and the world around us, my attitude has changed dramatically about shopping. There was a day I wouldn't think twice about dropping $100 on a leather purse or boots. Yesterday, I looked at a $29.99 wallet and felt bad for the animal that died for it. I saw racks and racks of "useless items made by foreigners for dumb Americans to buy" as a book I once read put it. There were stores full of plastic toys, wrapping paper and ribbon, perfume, fancy shoes, boots, purses, blue jeans, underwear, luggage, socks, and kids clothing. And the prices were very, very affordable. A sign of the times, I'm sure.
My thoughts go to the Amish when shopping these days. They are the masters of practical, useful products. Their thoughts are repair, reuse, or recycle. They shop second-hand stores for used items and discount stores for low-prices. They will fix, mend, or repair something until it absolutely cannot be used anymore. In my head, I put an Amish person in the aisles of Vanity Fair and I couldn't imagine them buying one item of anything at the Vanity Fair Outlets -- not one single item. So neither did I. I came home with money in my pockets and empty bags. It was a good day -- for all of us!