Not our day to shop

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2011

During our last visit with my sister-in-law Joan in Marietta, Ga., my daughter and I stopped on our way back home for a much too hurried shopping jaunt at a Tuesday Morning store. We lingered longer than we meant to—something that often happens when we shop together. We were just a few miles from Joan’s house, so we had to tear ourselves away and get on the road.

While we breezed down the Interstate, we decided that we would pay a more leisurely visit to a Tuesday Morning close to home one day soon. Last week, mindful that my daughter’s birthday was approaching, we planned our trip. What could be more fun than a birthday shopping trip? I found the address of the store in Ft. Walton Beach and punched it in on my Garmin.

It was one of those typical summer days in South Alabama and West Florida. Heat radiated from the pavement as we rolled down the highway. The temperature ranged in the high 90s and we were thankful for the blast of air cooling us from the vents in the car. I reminisced how uncomfortable it was during vacation trips with my parents from Birmingham to Panama City Beach when I was a child. We had no car air-conditioner in those days.

Guided by my usually trusty Garmin, we reached Ft. Walton Beach, found the store, and parked. I noticed a large sign on the door. I thought it was a sale announcement. It wasn’t. When we got near enough to read the sign, our feathers fell. We were set to shop to our hearts’ content. Not that day. The sign read, “Closed for Inventory.”

We trudged back to the car, sweaty and disappointed. What next? We knew there was a Tuesday Morning in Destin. My daughter deducted that since this store closed for inventory, the Destin store should be open. We drove to Destin and found a large mall. After driving all over it, we saw a directory. When I got out of the car to look it over, a man drove up in a mall cart and asked if he could help me. Tuesday Morning was about two and a half miles “that way.” He pointed to the direction from which we had come. We had driven past it.

That same big sign glared at us: “Closed for Inventory.” We groaned and turned away. Even if our Tuesday Morning spree was thwarted, we could still enjoy a birthday meal at a nice restaurant. We chose a steak house. We stood waiting for about 10 minutes while the help ignored us. Nobody ever came to show us to a table. We left.

Finally the tables turned. We found a Japanese restaurant with good service. And since we couldn’t shop at Tuesday Morning, our consolation shopping destination was Barnes & Noble, our favorite bookstore. No closed signs or rejection there. The doors were wide open and the service was great.