Retail Panic for Some Means Job Security to Others

By Mary Hunt

June 25, 2019 4 min read

I'm not proud of myself for loading up a shopping cart and then, in some kind of retail panic attack, leaving it in the aisle and fleeing the store. Well, maybe I am a little.

It was about the most impulsive (repulsive, perhaps) thing I've done in some time. And it's all because, despite how far I've come, I'm still me. And I just happened to be in the area.

I don't normally travel in the direction of the largest fabric store in the universe. But I did, and there I was, just blocks from the entrance. So I stopped in to just ... uh ... look around.

Potential. That's what I saw — aisle after aisle of beautiful gifts, quilts, tablescapes, decorator pillows, blankets, fun ... pure joy.

There were several bargains that, quite frankly, one should never pass up. And that is the ONLY reason I found a shopping cart. I mean, come on ... my favorite brand of flannel (the really good stuff) for $4.99 a yard? And flannel-backed satin in the perfect shade of Christmas red for $6.59?

I made my way to the cutting table when I noticed something new: a take-a-number machine. Hate those things. But I was stuck then, so I plucked No. 73 from its little mouth and pulled back to notice they were "now serving 61."

Patience is not one of my finer qualities. I couldn't stand there and wait through 12 people in line for my turn anymore than I could've done backflips while performing a double cast-on (a little knitting lingo).

So I decided to see if I'd missed any other bargains. I had. By the time they called number 68, I was in a cold sweat.

What am I doing?! I thought. I have 12 bolts of gorgeous fabric, 8 skeins of to-die-for yarn, 18 quality zippers and enough thread to choke a goat in my cart. And for what? At home I have more fabric, yarn and notions than the legal limit. I have no place to put any of this. I don't really need more because I have too much already.

It was as if my entire audience of readers (somewhere north of a million when we consider online and those of you who meet up with me in your local newspapers) was staring at me. And that is when I did the unthinkable.

I bolted for the door. Somehow, I found the car and sped home with my heart racing, the way one's heart races after experiencing a close call.

I do regret leaving that cart full of contents for some clerk to re-shelve. However, given the condition of the store, I would suggest I'm not the first case of fabric overload they have ever had to deal with.

And considering the mountain behind the cutting table, re-shelving bolts of fabric offered full-time employment for several people. I prefer to think that my little escapade provided job security for someone.

I am grateful that in the end, I reaffirmed something I've learned through the years and will not soon forget. Even when it feels as if I have no choice but to respond impulsively, I do have a choice. I can always walk away. Or run.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Photo credit: skeeze at Pixabay

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