4 Dec 2015
Maybe because I am getting older I am feeling more of the strain of the activity of the season: shopping, which is not my favorite pastime any time of the year. I cannot say that for the other occupant in our usually merry domicile.
If anybody is a shopping queen, the trophy has to go to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I do not know if she invented shopping, I just know it is in her DNA. In our house, DNA means “Deal Negotiator Authority.” If she cannot make a deal, nobody can.
I have discovered something quite disturbing during this time of the year. I call it the Cha Ching Syndrome.
It all came together when my wife came home from one of her shopping sprees very excited about how much money she had saved. If there is a coupon available anywhere, she has it, or knows where to get it.
It hit me one day; how much money did she have to spend to save money?
I first recognized my Cha Ching Syndrome when my wife convinced me to go shopping with her. She caught me by surprise and I could not think of any excuse not to go with her. At least not any excuse she would buy into.
“It will not take too long,” she pleaded in such a way that I could not refuse. “I just need someone to help me take the packages out to the car.”
“Then,” she said with an infectious smile, “we can go and have lunch together. Doesn’t that sound like fun?”
How can you possibly argue with that? I could not come up with any legitimate excuse and so I “volunteered” to go with my wife shopping with one qualifying element; she had to take her car. I did not want to use my gas to do something I was not excited about doing.
I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that it would not be my favorite day. A favorite day for me would be staying at home reading one of my favorite books on my favorite easy chair. The word “favorite” can never be associated with going to the mall.
We made it to the mall and my wife knew exactly where to start. I knew where I wanted to go, but I was under strict orders to assist my wife in this shopping extravaganza.
I could not help but notice how many stores there were in this mall. I never knew there were this many stores in the entire world. Where do these stores come from? Who in the world is buying all this stuff to keep the stores operating?
As I looked around, I noticed the mall was crowded with people. I had to be careful so not to be run over or run over anybody. There was such an obsession to buy that I had to be careful not to get in anybody’s way. I am ready to die, but I sure do not want to die in a shopping mall. That would be the epitome of blasphemy as far as I am concerned.
“Oh,” my wife said gigglingly, “are we going to save money today.”
Then it slowly began to dawn on me. How can you save money in a shopping mall whose only intention is to get as much money out of your wallet as possible?
As we went to the first cashier to pay for our purchases, I heard a faint Cha Ching. I did not think too much of it at the time.
When we came to the second cashier, I heard a little louder, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.
The first one did not get my attention, but this one did. Then we went to the third cashier. Almost booming in my head I heard, Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.
We were getting close to the end of her shopping spree and she said there was one more store she needed to go to. Patiently, and loaded down with packages, I followed her to the last store of the day. Do not ask me which it was, after awhile they all look the same to me.
I felt like I was backed into a corner. We were at the register and my wife looked at me and said very calmly, “Do you have any cash on you? I’ve used up all mine.”
Slowly, I open my wallet, pulled out all the cash I had and with a trembling hand handed it over to her. Cha Ching.
“Thank you,” she said, “you helped me save a lot of money today.”
All I could hear was Cha Ching echoing in my head and I could barely understand what she was saying.
When it was all over my wife saved $39.14 (Cha Ching) which only cost me $219.79 (Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching).
During our lunch, which I ended up paying for (Cha Ching) all she could talk about was all the money (Cha Ching) she had saved today and had me to thank for it. Sometimes it is best to go along so you can get along.
Paul understood the power of money, he wrote “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
To be obsessed with money is to lose the real value of life.