The Dollar Bill

shopping mall, shoppiingI hate department stores. I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. The empty vastness of material nothingness; the bright lights spotlighting our greed; the vapid noise of elevator music and high-pitched meaningless laughter.

Thus, when my daughter suggests I go with her and my 11-year-old granddaughter for a girls’ day of shopping, I respond immediately:

“Of course. I’d love to.”

I may hate department stores, but I love my girls, so I’ll travel into the bowels of hell for them.sweater, fashion, clothing

Every fall the three of us go on this mall-journey. Sophie’s birthday is in July, and my gift to her is an afternoon at the mall to select a new school outfit. She has no idea how much of a sacrifice I make for her in the name of grandmotherly love.

She finds the “perfect fall sweater” at one of those beastly pre-teen/teen stores and I pay for it with cash. The young woman at the register owes me $2.50 in return, but I can see her trying to struggle how to break my $20 bill. I raise my eyes to heaven, asking for strength. She finally reaches for the calculator close at hand and then hands me my change.

dollar bill, George WashingtonOne of the dollar bills has inked writing on the top of each side and I’m about to return it to her (I like my bills clean and not tattered) but I read the message on the George Washington side quickly.

“You go through life wondering what it’s all about…”

Yes, yes, I do as well as millions of other inhabitants of this weird Earth.

I place the bill in my pocket while handing the bagged sweater to my granddaughter. She blushes and thanks me so sweetly I wonder how I can possibly begrudge our time here in this hellhole of humanity.

As we walk out of the store toward my daughter’s favorite shop full of household wares (ugh, I groan to myself), I pull out the dollar and read the rest of the message on the other side:

“…but at the end of the day it’s all about family.”

I’m the one who blushes now. I have just been chastised by my angels, and they are so right. How lucky am I to be here with my glorious daughter and beauteous granddaughter, celebrating our gift of togetherness? trinkets, jewelry, shopping mall

I shout out: “After you buy your candles and throw pillows, let’s go to the trinket store with all the earrings and bracelets!”

My daughter and granddaughter both turn to me incredulous, mouths open.

I just laugh and hug them as if my life depends on it.

132 thoughts on “The Dollar Bill

    • My mom used to love to shop also, Robbie. And I admit, I wish she could drag me out to the clothing stores now. Enjoy your once-a-month mom/daughter shopping trips. They are priceless (no matter how much we’re not “into it.” ) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you do that with your mom Jill. My mom was a fashion maven. She could go and check out different clothing stores for hours. As a teenager I just followed behind and learned. Enjoy those special times with your mom – they mean the world to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful post, Pam. I am tear eyed as I read on and do understand so well why you make a public display of yourself and your happiness towards the end.
    I am quite cheered to find other anti mall women. I feel the same dread as
    you and your commenters.

    For those I love, that would be a different matter.

    Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess I’m one of those kind of people who wears her heart on her sleeve, or in my case I wear my heart on my writing pen. 😏❤️ Hugs and smiles to you my friend. May we avoid the malls as long as possible.

      Like

  2. You captured my experience exactly, Pam. And your dollar story was the icing. I’d have been sorely tempted though to teach the salesgirl (yes, I use the term intentionally) how to count out change. I learned when I was about 15 because an older woman thought I should know. No calculators needed. Easy peasy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve become naughty and pay for much of my grocery and incidental shopping with cash, Janet. Then I patiently wait for the horror to leave the cashier’s face as he/she frantically tries to figure out the change. (Sigh). I hate becoming “that” older woman, but maybe a young teen will thank me in later years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You get written messages on your money? All I get is a soft voice whispering ‘spend me, spend me’. 😏

    I used to love shopping with my sisters and nieces, but with busy lives, it rarely happens now. We would spend a weekend together haunting a mall, laughing and providing editorial opinion on every purchase. Good times 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful story. Funny how these reminders often come to us during experiences that are patience-testing but not life-threatening. A good jolt to remind how lucky we are.
    And it’s always reassuring to read about others who share my dislike of shopping. I’m not alone! (Except book stores. I can spend hours there.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need those angels. My granddaughters (age 14) are coming this weekend. They have already told me their latest shopping love is Ulta. I like this store but I can’t spend a day there. Somehow I will survive and maybe they will give me a makeup lesson. Hoping I don’t look too clown like. You know how older women don’t look good in a lot of makeup! I’m hoping I can get them to Starbucks afterward. That would make it all better because it’s really all about family. (Secretly I long for the days when the Target toy aisles were their favorite place.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, yes, yes! I feel the same way about department stores and malls. You’ve given me a glimpse into my possible future when my granddaughter might discover the “joys” of shopping. It’s wonderful that your angels found a way to help you appreciate the gift of togetherness with your family. Beautifully written, Pam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Barbara, I have given you a glimpse into “Granddaughter Future.” But don’t despair; her giggles of delight in finding a fun pair of shoes or a sparkly bracelet will help you get through the mall nightmare. ❤

      Like

  7. I thought I was the only one who hates to shop. The things we do for our loved ones! I do this for my aged mother-in-law – same story. But obviously there are people who love the shops – those we take shopping…. Good message on that bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how all your readers are of a like mind. I, too, loathe shopping malls and fall into the rare category of: get in, get what I need, get out.

    I don’t have daughters so I have no excuse to go. My mother is not a shopper either so…

    How serendipitous to have received that particular dollar bill! I definitely would keep it…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post made me laugh out loud (because I don’t like department stores or malls, either) and nod knowingly (because I’ll go there, too, if my kids ask). I love the One Dollar Priceless Message. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful reminder from the universe and clearly you got the message. You are very blessed to have such love and connection with your daughter and granddaughter. And I love your writing. It tickles my funny bone and warms my heart. Thank you Pam.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, Pam – Thank you for another beautifully written and thought-provoking piece. I love old fashioned department stores (most of them gone now). Not for the actual shopping, but for all of the reasons that you mentioned at the end of your post. How serendipitous was that note on the dollar bill? Its sentiment and timing were perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do have fond memories of going from little shop to little shop in the small hometown where my parents raised me. My mom took me there for my first training bra! My first prom dress! My first pair of walking shoes! But that was back in the day where we walked through a tree-lined town and knew all the shopkeepers. A different experience altogether now. 🤨

      Like

  12. I don’t go to the malls very often anymore. I have found that my retirement wardrobe is limited (by choice) and comfy… no more need to appear in a new work outfit now and then. I prefer to shop alone… that way I can take whatever time – long or short – that I need. You are a good grandmother to put aside your desires in order to please your delightful granddaughter. It truly is all about family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once I began working for myself, Janis, I changed my working clothes to a comfy pair of leggings and a soft tunic. Just like you. And I am ashamed or elated – whichever way you want to take it – that I can acquire those items online when necessary. 😆 My daughter and granddaughter – and my mom when she could still shop – can spend 20 minutes looking at one pair of jeans when shopping! By then I feel I could have read three chapters of a good book!! 🙄 But no matter, as you say, it’s the spending time together that counts. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A most beautiful reminder, Pam… Thought you were reading my thoughts as I read along. So funny, since I like crisp clean bills (cash) and am even distraught when they hand back change in dollar bills that are turned every which way. Next time, I’ll simply smile as recall your Dollar Day with your precious ones! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved your post, Pam, for multiple reasons. I dislike shopping in general, especially for clothes. The whole thing tests my patience. My wife has a much better fashion sense than me, and she comes along for the entire fiasco. After about the third shirt that “doesn’t quite fit right” or finding the “perfect” pair of pants in the wrong color, I’m looking for my car keys to escape this hell. At some point, I come out of the dressing room beginning to work up a sweat (who knew that clothes shopping could be so physical?) unable to find my wife who has gone in search of further clothes of torture. She knows her time is limited before the buzzer goes off, indicating, “Times up! Let’s see what lovely parting gifts we have for our contestant.”

    On the other hand, I completely understand the feeling of pleasure you get from being with your daughter and granddaughter. It is a sacrifice worth making, and I commend you for doing so. Our son recently got his master’s degree, and even though it was sometimes painful when he asked me to proofread one of his twenty-five-page papers filled with technical jargon, I was secretly thrilled that I could still help him.

    Like

  15. “I may hate department stores, but I love my girls, so I’ll travel into the bowels of hell for them.”
    That’s me to a Tee, Pam! My son-in-law says I shop like a man: Go into a store, find what I was looking for, pay, and leave.

    The day came when I had to have help though. Book launch day was approaching and my daughter said, “Mom, who have to look the part.”
    “What part?” I wondered.

    She knows how to “paw” through the displays and find treasure. I told her, “If you weren’t with me, I’d just turn around and head for the door. I’d be so befuddled.”

    I say, What we do for love . . . with money!
    Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Have I told you today that you’re my favorite???

    I feel the same way about shopping malls. We lived less than a mile away from the Cherry Hill mall for 8 years and went . . . twice! But I would tag along with nieces any old time. And even carry their purchases while they tried on more stuff.

    Like

  17. Love transcends all, especially for family! 😀 What serendipity that this message came to you in the depth of the mall … a reminder of the importance in life. A special treat for you all to go out shopping together and your daughter and granddaughter must have been agog when you mentioned the trinket store! I can do shopping centres for a couple of hours or so but after that return home absolutely shattered, my head buzzing and my eyes weary! A day walking or Gardening is heavenly by comparison! Have a lovely weekend, my friend! Hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t you know it! Living in Henry David Thoreau country (near Walden Pond) where we are reminded to “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify,” the mall seems to laugh in Thoreau’s face. 😦 But alas, I will walk the mall this winter when it’s 15 degrees out to get in a bit of exercise. Maybe. Nah, I’d prefer the freezing temps.

      Like

  18. Cash? I don’t know about the US but here, more and more people hardly use cash. No wonder young cashiers can’t add or subtract. And there are even a few places (no doubt quickly increasing in number) that won’t accept cash at all 😦

    I dislike (hate is wrong) department stores too, but then most men do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right. I shouldn’t use the word hate. I should have written “I strongly wholeheartedly and intently dislike….”
      I use cash now when I go grocery shopping etc. just for the reaction. I like to misbehave that way. ❤

      Like

  19. We once called those days out at the mall, “Retail Therapy.” And even tho the grandgirls have graduated from dollar store items I still love it when we can all go shopping together. I love your dollar story. Hope you save that bill because it says it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Pamela,
    I hope you do something special with that dollar bill. I mean you shared the whole experience with us, so that’s already special, but it is such an incredible reminder of what’s most important and it’s not often you can buy that for a dollar! Maybe frame it so you can see both sides and leave it on a table in your kitchen or den! That was a very cool story! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the framing idea, Mona. But then, on the other hand, perhaps releasing that dollar bill back into circulation will help some other shopper who is handed change, including that bill, will get a much needed reminder of what’s important. ;-0 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I totally “get it” Pam. Shopping is not my thing. Hanging out with my granddaughter and daughter is my thing. Immediate goosebumps when I read further. I wonder how many gems are right in front of me and I miss out on the message? Or does the message only appear when I really need to hear it?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I loved this more than you can imagine. I no longer have the stamina for long shopping trips and usually, the mall only sees me before opening hours to walk with the rest of the old folks. It’s impressive how many go to the mall to walk fast and safely. I need nothing else there but on occasion, have indulged my own daughter on a Saturday trip to shop for work clothes for her. I used to be quite the shopper in my day but it’s lost its glitz. I want to write little sayings on all my cash now and imagine where they go in the world. You never know who you are going to touch in such a moving way. I would have endured the torture as well if I’d been lucky enough to have grandchildren. Maybe in my next time around. 😉 Give them an extra squeeze.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have just proved a wonderful lovely important reason for malls. The mall I go to (infrequently, obviously) is too far away for me to travel on those cold wintry days when I’m desperate for a walk. But yay to those who are able to walk the mall’s floors and move those muscles, exercise in safety, and enjoy smiles passed from walker to walker. I just read that one mall in the mid-west invited dogwalkers to come also. A bit of a problem with the “pick up after your dog” request, however.
      And you’re right, perhaps we all should write an uplifting quote on our dollar bills. Who knows who we may reach at a needed time? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. How sweet and beautiful, Pam! I think I could tolerate a mall visit once a year, especially if it’s with loved ones. On the other hand, we have the perfect excuse to never go shopping: we avoid being around family and friends over the holidays, don’t have children, and live an extreme minimalistic life, on a tight budget. Our clothes last forever and we don’t have room for more, so that usually takes care of visiting malls, thrift stores, or clothing stores.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 21st October – Pamela Wight #Shopping, Robbie Cheadle #Poetry and D.G. Kaye with Marie Lavender #Interview | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  25. Loved your story Pam. And oh yes, that was definitely a message from the higher powers that be. You’re a wonderful grandma enduring the slog of shopping lol. I’ve been a shopper all my life. But I admit as the years pass, I’m much more comfortable ordering from the comfort of my couch that traipsing the malls. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I like shopping. I don’t do it often, but when I do, I enjoy it. My mom was a wonderful seamstress. Sometimes we shopped to see the new styles. I would try a dress on, and if it was nice, she might buy it for me or she might sit in the dressing room drawing it to make later.

    If I had to choose between being a hunter-gatherer or a farmer, I’d choose the former. Shopping reminds me of that, of hunting through the forest for the best berries and herbs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great way to look at shopping – “hunting-gathering.” With that in mind, I might have a better time next time I take my grandgirl. But truly, your memories of shopping with your seamstress-mom to find styles, your mom drawing in the dressing room. Now THAT made me feel love. Thanks so much for sharing this experience. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I certainly smiled at this story! I relate to the way you feel about shopping, malls and all that goes with the noisy sea of humanity! Don’t get me started on food courts! But my mom at 87 still loves to shop, and out of love for her, I often bring my granddaughters (who also love it) and off we go. I need about two days to get over the experience! But I do it for them, and next time, I’ll likely remember your message sent by way of the dollar bill. It’s a good reminder, no matter how the message arrives. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Had to smile, Debra, at how some of us need several days to recover from a day at the mall. The brash lights! The brassy sounds! The push of salespeople AND the crowd! The (fried) smells of the food court! Oh dear, I better stop. And yet. And yet we go there – for love. 🙂 xo

      Like

  28. Oh this is such a real love filled story Pam. Real cause come on, no fluff 😉 We hate shopping yet we indulge with those we love. I despise the mall, except the food court 😉 In between my daughter and my mother, I’m the odd one out. They LOVE{!!!!} the mall and I will find every excuse to never go there. I am so thankful to online stores, where I just pick what I need and it comes to my door, without having to go through the treachery of walking the mall halls. Except ofcourse when my mommy and baby want me to.
    And that message on the dollar bill, that is what its all about any way.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi, Pam. Simply put, I love this story and your telling of it. You’ve really brought life to a seemingly mundane activity here, tapped into that wonderful, powerful thing called voice. What’s more, amid all the convolutions and stress of the world at this time, you’ve provided here a much needed reminder of what really matters. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I detest shopping malls as well. They feel claustrophobic to me and I always think I might fall off the escalator or get stuck in the elevator. It happens right? And then the people, the noise, the consumerism… So I get ya!

    Good for you though for seizing the moment and shifting gear. Perhaps the next person who holds that dollar bill will do the same…

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. That’s why I didn’t want to save the dollar bill, Peta. Put it back out in circulation and see who else needs to “get the message.” In the meantime, you and I will avoid malls (and escalators- ugh) like the plague.

      Like

  31. Like you, I hate shopping also. Again, like you, my daughter loves it so once a year we go shopping at Copley and then have lunch. I’m all in for lunch and we usually leave that mall with a few new pairs of shoes. Now, the boys, they do my kind of shopping. They love Barnes and Noble…we read, buy books and magazines and then we eat the worst pizza in the world. They declare it a great day. I have to agree with them… So Pam here’s to shopping…Grandmother shopping…

    Liked by 1 person

Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s