Look Before You Leap

posted in: Newsletter | 0


I tend to rush into things. I move too quickly and trip over my own feet. Years ago I was hurrying to class at Country Day and my Birkenstock flew off my foot, I tripped over it, and landed face first on some concrete steps. Dean Frank Justice took me to a plastic surgeon, father of one of my students, and he stitched up my mouth so I wouldn’t have an unsightly scar. Not long ago I was gathering up some glass garden ornaments from in front of my old store, getting ready to close. I spun around on my Dansko clogs, caught my foot on uneven pavement, and fell backward on top of the shattered glass, breaking my arm.  And more recently I was scurrying around the new shop moving things around, caught my heel on a slight rise onto the terra cotta tile at the front of the store, and crashed down onto my head. I saw stars and had horrible neck pain for months. Klutz?

I frequently trip and stumble when I am walking so I signed up for a walking workshop with physical therapist Cliff Shulman. Shulman broke the act of walking into distinct steps, and we practiced walking at different speeds for two hours. At the end of the class Shulman called me aside. “Just slow down! You move too quickly,” he advised. Advice I have not taken.

But walking too fast and flailing around are the least of my problems. I jump on things without looking closely enough before bidding at an auction or buying online. Auctions are hard because I get carried away. An item will come up for bids and perhaps it appears that it will go for a very low price. I think, “Oh, no! I can’t let that lovely table or chest or cabinet go for so little!” My hand will shoot up and bingo, I have bought it. As I inspect the piece later I am occasionally pleased with the purchase, but all too often I find the flaws that contributed to the low price. Wiggly chairs, wobbly tables, and stained upholstery. Chips on pottery, and cracks in glass. Reproductions that looked original from a distance. I have bought them all.

Ebay has become a problem for me lately. I have gotten into the habit of shopping on Ebay when I am bored. By itself that is not a problem. I have gotten some terrific bargains on Ebay. I have bought many beautiful cashmere sweaters for a fraction of their original price. I have bought designer clothes and handbags that look brand new for next to nothing. And the UGG boots I wear almost every day were purchased for $20 last year. Cha-ching! These have been my lucky purchases.

I tend to move too quickly, though,  and click the “Buy it now” button without inspecting the item closely or even reading the description. Lately I have been stocking up on vintage blue jean jackets for the store. Who doesn’t love a blue jean jacket?? I don’t like stiff denim and prefer jeans and jackets that have been worn in. I have been searching Ebay for these and have found a great many available, but often these are already too expensive for me to re-sell. When I find them at a low enough price, I jump one them.

People on Ebay are good about pointing out the flaws in their offerings, but the buyer has to take the time to look closely and read carefully. Most of the jackets have been fine, but a couple have been surprises. The first was a “bargain” Lucky Brand jacket. It looked adorable so I grabbed it. When it arrived it was certainly cute, but it was a child’s size 5. Great for your little daughter or granddaughter but not what I expected.

But the biggest message from the universe arrived this week. I had ordered a brand new with tags Top Shop embroidered jacket from England. It took forever to arrive, as it was shipped via international delivery (adding to the cost.) The size was adult small, but when I took it from the package it was exceedingly tiny. I was able to squeeze into it, but it was not loose and comfy. It was roughly the same size as the child’s jacket I already had. See the picture below:

The real problem, though, was the embroidery on the back. How had I missed this in the Ebay description?  In big silver script across the back were the letters L-O-S-E-R. Who in the world would wear this jacket??? I wear some crazy stuff, but even I won’t advertise that I am a loser. Ruth suggested I cross out the s and write a v, turning loser into lover, but that seems even worse somehow.

I believe this jacket is a strong message from the universe, “Slow down, you loser!” I promise I will try.