Mooch Your Way to a Non-Consumer Day

by Katy on December 8, 2010 · 12 comments

My day yesterday was not going to be much to write home about. I was scheduled to work, which should have meant that there was not much in the way of non-consumer action aside from a possible nip into the West Burnside Goodwill on my way home. Sadly, I showed up at work, only to be told that I was not actually on the schedule, which means I got up at 6:00 A.M. and drove a twenty mile round trip for nothing.


However, it opened my day up considerably. So I called up my father who had left a message the day before asking about going to lunch together and set that up.

Free lunch? Check!

My father and I had a lovely meal at my very favorite restaurant in the entire world, (Jade) and then walked down to The Looking Glass bookstore so my father could pick up some books he had ordered, (I warn you to never get him started on an rant) and had a lovely chat with the owner. I had offered to give her a darling children’s chair to use in the kids’ book section on an earlier visit, but instead explained how I had been caught in a sudden rainstorm while spray painting it, which makes it now look like it’s suffering from a nasty case of smallpox. Needless to say, I haven’t followed through on my offer to bring in the chair.

The owner told me how she used to have a tiny caned rocking chair in the children’s section, but that the kids had been too hard on it.

“People think that every store is Barnes and Noble, they just don’t think about how the chair has an actual owner.”

Hmm . . . gotta get that chair repainted.

My father and I then walked a couple blocks down to the Columbia Sportswear outlet store. I had broken The Compact a few weeks ago and bought my 15-year-old son a brand new winter rain jacket. My son takes the city bus to high school and back, and needs to have good rain gear. And here in Oregon, that is serious business. Sadly, my son left his jacket in his biology class and it was gone faster than an heirloom tomato at a Michael Pollan fan club meeting. E-mails to the teacher as well as spelunking trip through the school’s lost and found proved unsuccessful. Luckily, the store still had the same coat, which was marked down $31.50 from $115. And even luckier, my father insisted in paying.

Mooch-power, activate!

And yes, I wrote my son’s name all over that coat this time. I highly doubt I’ll be able to buy this coat a third time.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica December 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

-sigh- I cannot tell you how much I <3 and miss Sellwood. Used to live in that hood (Ugly Mug!) and work in a café at a now-defunct yarn store there (RIP Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks). If my bf proposes, I want to shop for a dress in PDX. Love it…


Rebecca December 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I know 15 yr olds are notorious for absently leaving things, but I wonder if his memory would be better if he was partially responsible for buying the replacement. Maybe, maybe not.


Katy December 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

That occurred to me, and he WILL be responsible for buying the next one if that becomes necessary. Also, this kid is actually really good about not losing stuff. I can’t think of anything that he’s ever lost track of.



Practical Parsimony December 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I can feel the pain of going to work when you are not supposed to be there and having a child lose a coat. Ouch on both counts. I have been both places. Hey, I just got a Columbia jacket and wonder what a rain jacket is, exactly. I bought one that is rain resistant. Would it be too much trouble to send me a catalog pic or upc code so I can see what is what. I have not had experience with Columbia Sportswear. If I could compare what I bought with your pick, I would know if I could do better price-wise. Thanks.


Laura December 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I’m so with you about Jade. It’s the girls’ and my favorite place as well.


Dmarie December 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

forgetting a coat/jacket happens to the best of us…if we’re lucky, we leave it somewhere that it may be found and returned. glad your son’s loss had a happy ending.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary December 9, 2010 at 8:33 am

I, personally, have lost more gloves, sunglasses, and hats than I care to remember. Last week I left a library book (that I was in the middle of reading, and enjoying) at the roller skating rink. Subsequent calls to the rink have been for nought, unfortunately. This will require an embarrassing trip to the library to explain as well as the cost of replacing the hard-cover book for the library. (Which, um, kind of defeats the whole purpose of using the library!)

As a generally responsible adult, holding a job, managing a household, and raising two kids, I do not consider myself to be unreliable. I just…leave things where they shouldn’t be.

If your son is normally not the type to lose stuff, my perspective is that once in a while stuff happens. Great luck that you found a replacement coat at a reasonable price!


602Laura December 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

I learned that uniform stores will embroider a name on a jacket for a reasonable price–usually for $5-10. I gave it a try and it turned out to be money well spent for us. I have 4 boys, and since outer wear definitely gets the hand-me-down treatment at our house, I got their jackets embroidered with our last name, rather than their first names. I know this probably wouldn’t do any good if a jacket got lost in a public place, like on a city bus, but it has been helpful when they’ve forgotten their jackets at school.


Kate in NY December 10, 2010 at 5:54 am

My husband and I have vowed to do our own version of the Compact in 2011 – but we decided to give each other $100 Amazon giftcards for Christmas. We figured that could be our one “consumer hit” during the year. After reading your post today, it hit me – why Amazon? My parents live ONE BLOCK away from “The Strand” bookstore in NYC, and we visit them at least once a month. I think The Strand competes with Powell’s as one of the largest independent bookstore in the US, and it is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous – “18 miles” of new and used books, plus intelligent, knowledgeable staff – why on earth would I spend what little money I am going to spend this year at Amazon?
Luckily, The Strand has giftcards, too.

Please tell your dad “thanks for the inspiration.”


Katy December 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

I will tell my father. And I too love The Strand. I have many happy memories of searching out book bargains from when I lived in NYC.



Alison Wiley December 11, 2010 at 7:46 am

LOVE the analogy of the heirloom tomato disappearing from the Michael Pollan fan club gathering. Good post.

I like Looking Glass Bookstore too (they used to buy my handmade cards), and can understand your father’s rants regarding — though I’ll take your advice on never getting him started.


Tracy Balazy December 13, 2010 at 7:29 am

I was going to comment on the Michael Pollan/heirloom tomato remark, too. Good one!


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