I used to be a great shopper. Now I am not talking about a run-of-the-mill GOOD shopper, I was a GREAT shopper. I could spot a bargain a mile away, I knew how to bargain from Port Louis to Cairo, in Zanzibar I lugged (to the laughter of all my friends and the embarrassment of my hubby) a suitcase of my oldest clothes and some Pep stores jeans to trade, and trade I did – didn’t pay for a thing on the whole trip. London was my Big Apple.

Anyway, as the years have gone by I have sort of lost interest in shopping and the endless search of the bargain, the thrill of the trade has lost its lustre. Now I shop to well get the stuff I need.

Believe me I only work on a need basis, so if someone in the family comes to me and say “I need a jacket/pair of jeans/shirt/jersey etc” I first check if the “need” is not a “want/lis/desire or wannawanna have cause all-my-friends-have-got-one!” type of need. Need means you have not got one and if you haven’t got one you will either die of the cold or embarrassment.

So when both Frans and Jamie come to me and say they NEED socks ….. and they are standing in front of me with their big toes sticking out of a stretched piece of fabric, a sort of beige colour, which is at the end of their legs I know they both need socks.

“Well” I say “Why don’t you go and buy some?”

Two mouths gap at me and make funny dying fish sort of noises.

“Ummmmmm ….. you KNOW I don’t shop” says Frans. “I am the hunter, and you are the gatherer, and that you means you must gather things in shops and pay for them”. He looks at me with an “Arent I so clever for thinking up that sentence” look on his smirking face.

“I agree with Dad” says Jamie. It’s the first time he has agreed with his Dad in 14 years two hundred and ninety six days.

So off I go to Humansdorp on a month end Saturday. Its busy, its hot, in the Shoprite parking lot there are car guards, egg sellers, Nigerian traders, banana sellers, those guys who are pretending to be car guards, the guys who have spent their weeks wages at the bottle store and guys in long black jackets selling Rolex watches and Chanel perfume. But all I want to do is go into Ackermans (no Woolies in Humansdorp) and buy socks and get out of Dodge.

As I squash my car into a parking bay, I look up and there is a guy with a box. Now I am ace at vendors – the method is EASY – look them straight in the eye and “say no THANK YOU”, it normally works, not with this oke.

“Morning Meddem! I have lovely socks to sell.

Hell … does this guy read minds. I look around to see if any of my mates are playing a joke on me.

“BUYTHREEGETONEFREE” – he sings through a toothless mouth.

I feel a long forgotten tingling way down in my toes – A BARGAIN!!!!!

“BUY TWO PACKS AND GET A MYSTERY DISCOUNT”, the tingling unfolds into full blown Shoppaholicanism – then I make my first mistake.

I get out of the car and touch his wares.

“Meddem can try them on”

Now I start thinking …

a. How many people have tried on the socks before me?

b. Do my feet stink and IF I try them on will he smell my smelly feet?

c. How am I going to try them on balancing on one foot, between two cars, in a parking lot, outside Shoprite on end of the Month Saturday morning in Humansdorp?

d. How many seconds will it take me to sprint into Ackermans? and

e. Will he follow me?

Now I am stuck with nowhere to run and the reason why I have left home in front of me.

“How much?” I ask ….


I haul out the R60 for two – he hands me two packs.

“Where is my free socks?” I ask, “In the pack”, he answers.

“Where is my mystery discount?” I ask,

“There is NUMBER 4 SOCK IN EVERY PACK” he hisses and saunters off.

Oh well I think, mission accomplished without going a foot (sic) away from my car.

I get back in my car and drive the 200 metres to PEP (no Woolies in Humansdorp).

As I park a face appears at my window …..


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