Friday, October 1, 2010

New Westminster Swimsuit Store Saves Me Time

Day 1 and I haven't made a break for the Burnaby border yet. Just today, I saved myself about two or three hours in shopping time by sticking to New Westminster.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a swimming class at the Canada Games Pool. I knew this would require an athletic bathing suit and I figured the chances of finding a good one in New Westminster were zero. Even when I have all options open to me, finding a suit is a challenge. In addition to needing a, let's just say, large size, I also have a long torso.

Summer was over, so Wal-Mart wouldn't be carrying any suits and I couldn't think of anywhere else in town where I could get one. Just for the heck of it, I decided to Google "New Westminster bathing suits." To my surprise, New Westminster not only has a bathing suit store, it has one that carries specialty (meaning big and long torso) sizes: Just Swimwear on Sixth Street.

Here's what I would have done if I wasn't limited to shopping to New Westminster: I would have gone online and tried to find a suit. Would have looked at Land's End, Eddie Bauer, Sears. Would have got distracted by shiny merchandise and spent an hour or so surfing store sites.

Would have been nervous about buying swimwear online, so I would have gone to Swimco in Metrotown to see if they had anything. Would have been depressed about how many suits in that store are meant for skinny people. Would have been depressed about how many skinny people there are at Metrotown in general.

Would have started looking around Metrotown. Would have shifted my hunt from bathing suit to jeans. Would have had a delusional moment and tried on "super skinny" jeans in Old Navy.* Would have been surprised by how comfy they were. Would have considered how much it looked like I was wearing jodhpurs. Would have realized that pants that aren't jodhpurs shouldn't look like jodhpurs. Would have experienced moment of clarity as I realized there is no pair of jeans in the universe that is going to give me back the butt I had when I was 19. Would have got hungry from all the shopping and gone and bought a burrito, something else that is not going to give me back the butt I had when I was 19.

After two or three hours at the mall, I may or may not have gone home with a bathing suit.

Instead, I stopped by Just Swimwear today, picked out two or three likely options, tried them on and bought a suit, all in about 20 minutes. I had lots of time when I got home before I needed to go pick up my son from school.

I used this time to watch a documentary: Super High Me, the story of what happened when comedian Doug Benson decided to smoke pot every day for a month. It's such a powerful documentary I had to make some nachos while I watched it. Perhaps not the best use of my time, but better than being stuck in a mall for two hours.

The documentary got me thinking, that instead of shopping, maybe there's something else local I could do for a year. Kidding!  It really did get me thinking how many people are doing these lifestyle experiments. I'll list some of them in an upcoming post, tentatively titled My 100-Mile Super High Size Not Made in China Year of Living Biblically.

* I actually was this delusional recently, though not while being distracted from bathing suit shopping.

Spend Reports #3 and #4

I got behind with my spend reports, so I decided to do them all just before I start shopping only in New Westminster. Maybe I got behind because I was traumatized by having to admit how much I spent in a week in Spend Report #2. (I can't even bring myself to type the amount, you'll have to read that post if you want to know.)

Someone, anyone, please tell me you’ve done the same. I did feel a little better when I went to Wal-Mart during its once-a-year anniversary sale. The bargain shoppers were out in full force and some of them were making big impulse purchases. I saw a woman leave the store with a loaded cart and a 40” TV. She said she went in the store to buy a single toy, but couldn’t resist the $398 TV. Then I pondered that while she has a big-screen TV to show for her spending spree, all I have is a duvet and public humiliation.

Spend Report #3

From Sept. 16 to 22, I spent approximately $480.

I spent about $380 in New Westminster on:
A coat, groceries and miscellaneous items* at Wal-Mart
More items at Wal-Mart including Oreos, soap, Froot Loops and a Christmas present for my nephew 
Groceries at Safeway
Lunch at Opa
Food and rides at the Queensborough Fall Fair

I spent about $100 on:
Groceries (Richmond)
Lunch (Vancouver)
Deodorant (Kiehl’s, Vancouver)
Eye cream (The Bay, Vancouver)
Metered parking – $11!!! (Vancouver)

* Includes Hot Tub Time Machine DVD. It’s a hot tub and a time machine.

Spend Report #4

From Sept. 23 to 30, I spent approximately $460. This is the week I abandon all pretense of trying to shop normally and do a farewell tour of stores around the Lower Mainland that I won’t be spending money in for the next year.

I spent about $120 in New West on:
Spent. Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior (Just $9.99 at Black Bond Books; would have been $22 at Chapters or $21 at
Produce, almost all from B.C. (at Kin’s Farm Market)
Coffee and more coffee (at Starbucks)
A DQ Blizzard (Since when do Blizzards cost almost $5!?!)
Shoes for my son (Shoe Warehouse)

I spent about $340 on:
Groceries (Price-Smart in Hamilton, the Richmond neighbourhood that borders Queensborough)
More groceries (delivered by SPUD, which is based in Vancouver)
Gas (Shell in Hamilton)
Shampoo and conditioner (Metrotown, Burnaby)
Parking and ice cream at the Coliseum (Arcade Fire concert, Vancouver)
T-shirt and groceries (Superstore, Coquitlam) **
Various items at IKEA
Sweater, shirt and belt (Marks, Burnaby)
T-shirt (Warehouse One, Burnaby)

** It won’t be hard to stop shopping at Superstore. I only go a few times a year. My husband objects to its mix of merchandise.
“Is the raw meat supposed to go on top of my clothes or do I put the meat in the cart first?” is the kind of thing he says when I tell him I've been there.
Updated Oct. 8, 2010