Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You can't always get what you want

One of the unique errr..."challenges" of living on an island is accepting that you may not be able to get what you want, when you want it. The line from that movie is often true - if you didn't bring it here, you aren't going to find it here. My personal mantra has become "grocery shopping is not about getting what you want, it's about taking what you can get."

Like many other island residents, I've also indulged in mainland shopping day trips - going over on a morning boat with empty duffle bags, pounding the aisles of Target and Trader Joe's, and then returning fully loaded on the evening boat. This particular maneuver was made ever so much more fun when the boat company came up with their "one trip down the ramp" rule - in other words, no matter how much stuff you have, you gotta be able to hump it all onto the boat yourself in one trip. (Now might be a good time for me to mention that the rule was posted on a weekend while I was already on the mainland shopping. We arrived at the boat dock to find that our monster loads were to be our undoing. The woman crawling down the ramp with suitcases fore and aft and a large package duct-taped to her body? Yeah, that was a fun trip home.)

Then there's always online shopping. I particularly love when the merchant has trouble with the shipping address because, "it's not in the database". So not my problem buddy - just label it and toss it in the mail, and trust me, eventually I'll get it. Eventually. Next day air freight? Not possible, but no matter how many days pass, at some point it will catch some air time - even the mail comes over on a plane. Then my package will get to take an extended tour of the town. At a former job, we were sometimes so desperate to get our hands on a package - we'd even go out looking for the delivery driver and get it off the truck. (People can get awfully uptight when they are waiting for paychecks to be delivered - go figure.)

But what about when you go shopping for a mate? You can try to shop locally, but as always quantity is limited. You could try shopping on the mainland and bringing it back with you - but what if you get it home and find that it doesn't really fit as well as you thought? (Like the time that little twit at the Gap talked you into buying those white pants - remember that?) So do you try shopping online? I've heard mixed results, from downright sad to complete success. But has it really come to that? Making a checklist of the qualities you desire and paging through profiles to find the greatest percentage of matching.? Kind of reminds me of reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for a job.

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