Okay, you’re going to get some silliness today. Ready to enjoy a parody of a daytime soap opera drama? You’re going to learn that this episode of All My Secrets will pick up from yesterday’s final scene where Melanie is feeling guilt about buying some new clothes for herself. She doesn’t want her husband to find out about her purchases. Her best friend Hope is about to offer up a plan for how Melanie can hide her shopping bags from her husband, Jeremy, who is president of the local bank. Before we get into my script for All My Secrets, let’s talk about real life and times when legitimate shopping purchases could actually fill several shopping bags.
Real life shopping scenarios
In real life a woman calls me and wants to hire me for my services which would include the style assessment, possibly some closet work and maybe some personal shopping. When I’m hired to come and understand why a wardrobe isn’t working and come up with strategies for fixing it, two things could happen.
- All the ingredients the new client needs to have several outfits that work head-to-toe, so she can be out the door in five minutes, already exist in her closet. She just needs help putting those looks together that match her style recipe. I can do that and document the outfits so she never says, “I have nothing to wear.” And we can do that with little or no shopping. She may tell me at the end of the closet visit, “Oh, my husband is going to love you!” because it didn’t cost anything to get exactly what she needed other than my services. Or…
- She tells me before we even do the style interview that she has nothing in her closet. I tell her, “Most people say that but quite often they actually do have what they need. They just don’t know how to put it together and I can help with that.” But when she opens her closet door and I peer in and poke around the items hanging in her closet, I realize she was speaking the truth all along. She really doesn’t have anything in her closet and we need to shop ASAP.
When that happens, I am often putting a whole wardrobe together from scratch. This is what she’d already suspected so she’s prepared to spend the money. There will be several shopping bags in the trunk once we’ve shopped for clothes and shoes and handbags. The investment is a wise one. She will be filling her closet with things that will work perfectly. Then I’ll come back to her closet a week later to put the outfits together and document them on Wardrobe Charts. She’s thrilled.
Here’s where fantasy comes in…or does it?
Once in a while as I’m helping my new client load up the car with her new purchases, she may mutter something like, “I’d love to get these by my husband without him noticing. It could be a shock to him!” Certainly not everyone. It happens less and less. How couples manage their finances is not something I’m often privy to. And that’s fine.
Maybe you’ve encountered this what-to-do-with-shopping-bags-in-the-car dilemma to some degree in your own life. You live with someone but you don’t feel like sharing all the details of your life with that someone. And shopping is one of those details. Even when it’s smart, strategic shopping!
In my long career, I have heard a few tales. One day in my head, I saw some of the stories I’d been told showing up in a drama-filled soap opera where lots of unlikely things happen and there’s plenty of dramatic music in the background to sell us on these escapades.
So playing with this idea of what to do with those purchases will bring you right up to speed in today’s episode of All My Secrets!
All My Secrets
The setting of today’s opening scene: We’re in Melanie’s kitchen, lots of white and plenty of stainless steel. Melanie is fretting and Hope is sitting with her at the farmhouse style long wood table. Cups of coffee and a plate of bran muffins are the only objects on the table.
Melanie says, “Hope, I just know he’s going to find out.” She pulls mindlessly on her straight, brown hair.
Hope says, “Melanie, I’m sure you’re overreacting! Now calm down and talk to me. What does he know so far?”
Melanie says, “He knows I went shopping on Tuesday. He was standing here in the kitchen at 7 in the morning, eating a bagel and looking at his iPhone watch. A text came in. He had to leave but he asked me what I was doing today. I told him I needed to buy a wedding present.”
Hope says, “Who’s getting married? Wait, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he believes you went shopping for a present. And you did.”
Melanie says, “He told me to make it expensive. He wants to impress his boss. It’s his third marriage; the nanny this time.”
Hope says, “Okay, okay. So you went out and followed his advise and bought an expensive wedding gift. What he doesn’t know is you bought three new pairs of pants, a suit, new underwear, three t-shirts and a nightgown. Did Jeremy see you bring the bags in?”
Melanie says, “No, he was still at work when I got home.”
Hope says, “Tell me you transferred the clothes into the shopping bags that had the word SALE plastered all over them, the ones I told you to keep hidden in your trunk to reuse at times like this. Just tell me you did that!”
Melanie says, “Yes I did except they didn’t all fit in those two SALE bags so I had to use that other trick you taught me. I went grocery shopping for a few little things and brought my own bags. When I got to the car I stuffed the t-shirts and underwear into the bottom of the bag and topped it off with lettuce, scallions, and Bosc pears.”
Hope says, “Good, good. So where are the bags now?”
Melanie says, “They’re in the garage behind the tent and fishing equipment. I put the produce in the fridge.”
Hope says, “Good good, Jeremy isn’t going fishing anytime soon, is he?”
Melanie says, “Jeremy hasn’t fished in years!”
Hope says, “Perfect. In two weeks you’ll pull out the pant suit and wear it. If he says, ‘Is that new?’, you’ll say ‘This old thing? I’ve had it for a long time’, and it’ll be true. You have. You’ve had it for a whole two weeks already! Then in a few more days when the coast is clear, bring in a few more items. Believe me, he’ll never know!”
Stay tuned tomorrow when Jeremy goes fishing with his female attorney up at Lake Placid, first sneaking into the garage for the fishing equipment while Melanie is at her tennis lesson.
Real or imagined?
Good ideas? Done them yourself? Not these but others? Did I just think these up or have people shared them with me? The latter. Back in the day when I was married I did a fair amount of hiding the cost of things from my husband who spent very little on things. He loved papayas but complained about the price of them every single time we went grocery shopping. It was tiresome! He was an antique dealer and it wasn’t uncommon for him to buy a painting for $50 and sell it for $1500.
As I was building my wardrobe from scratch and introducing quality pieces to my wardrobe, I just didn’t want to have the discussion. When he noticed me wearing new things I used the line, ‘Oh, I’ve had this for a long time.’
I look at our character Melanie and I’m proud of her for buying what she did. She had a plan. She had holes in her wardrobe and filled them. Nothing to feel bad about, Melanie.
How have you managed this shopping issue in your home? Has it been an issue? I’d love to hear the stories, we all would! Please share!
Illustrations by Jenny Phillips