I went into a store and was reminded of what I never had


The other day I was shopping. Well, that could have been any day, really. I was at this store. Now that is odd for me since I mostly shop online now. I must say while I love shopping on Amazon, there was something cool about shopping in an actual store. Well, except for the long lines of people. I remembered what it felt like to touch and feel things before buying them. How wild an experience that used to be. The irony is that I live right across a macy’s departmemt store as well as a block away from target. However, I can barely get myself to step into those stores.  I love shopping while wearing pajamas. Yet, when I was in a store this past week I felt an acute sense of nostalgia.


I was in in Barnes and Noble walking around with my son who wanted to shop for boks. How could we deny him that?  I was so happy that he chose to go into a bookstore. At first he called it a library and we had to explain to him that back in the day (say a decade ago) bookstores were plentiful.  Can you believe how quickly Bookstores have left our publci consiousness? I went into the bookstore and wandered around like a tourist. The store has change drastically from when I remember shopping there on a weekly basis. It seemed more like a kids store with toys, storytelling areas and  hundreds of kids running around. I shuddered and remembered for a second why I go shopping online.  My son found four books to buy and we went ot get in a very long, winding line.


As we wrapped around, I looked at the non-book items that were for sale. It seemed to be that there were more non-book items in the bookstore than books, but I may be mistaken about that. Regardless, the perception is strong and says something about the state of reading in our society these days.  I headed over to some gels and candles on a particularly colorful shelf. I picked up a parfum item of sorts and waves of old memories flooded me. It was an indescribable smell that took me back decades. I recalled all of a sudden wandering through stores with hardly a dime to my name but one day wishing I could buy something that smelled like that. I don’t remember what it was then nor do I know what it was this week. It was just a fresh, yet old smell. It brought back memories of what was my state of being. It brought back memories of longing and wishing for more.


There is a book I have been meaning to read called “The way things never were: The truth about the Good old Days.”  I have it somewhere on one of my bookshelves.  The book notes that Americans tend to remember a time decades fondly for something that it probably never was.  I was reminded of that book as I recalled a time of longing for something that I didn’t have back then. It makes me laugh that now that I can afford this item, I don’t care to have it. Although, I briefly considered buying it just to place on a shelf somewhere.


I wonder as we move to more online shopping, if we will have less of these moments of nostalgia. For a moment or two, I enjoyed shopping in person smelling and touching items. The possibility of more meaningful gifts seemed to exist as well in that store. But as soon as I got in the line, I got tired of shopping. The instant gratification that one gets from a click of a button online can sure be strong. Of course, one has to wait a few days to receive the item. But it becomes another fun moment to receive and retrieve a package.

All these emotions. All these thoughst triggered by a moment in an actual store. Go figure.



4 replies »

  1. Great thought. I have been deliberately training my own kids to love reading from real books too. I can tell I’ve been successful with my 8-year old son. I hope my youngest follows in his footsteps too.


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