The Sage Connection

Let the shopping, and the bonding, begin!


The shopping season is upon us, one of my favorite times of the year, for several reasons.

One of my favorite pastimes is people-watching, and one of my favorite places to do this is in our local stores and shops, usually while standing in line.

Conversations with the cashier can often be interesting. For instance, recently, at the Lacey Fred Meyer Store, I overheard a couple my age telling the cashier they were going to make peanut brittle when they returned home. Naturally, I immediately asked the couple where they lived.

They laughed, but gave no address.

Other conversations have popped up when talking to myself at the store, like, “I wonder where they hid the whatever-I-need-this-week.” Often other shoppers will volunteer that they have seen it on aisle 257 and ask if I have come across whatever they are looking for.

Such conversations can lead to other subjects, like prices and how much they pay their staff to hide items at night when they should be home asleep. And by the way, why would you hide the whipped cream the week before Thanksgiving?

Once, when I was musing aloud about writing a letter to the people in China (where the bulk of our clothing seems to come from) to inform them we are not all 5 foot 1 and size 4, over half the shoppers in the store offered to sign the letter.

A full-blown conversation and friendship blossomed after I noticed a young woman at the Burlington Coat Factory trying to select a picture frame for a picture for her mother. She had the picture with her to ensure she got the right size, and after I suggested we take the frames apart so she could slip the picture in to see how it would look, she made her selection.

She got the perfect frame, and I got a hug. And we bonded further by putting the rest of the picture frames back together.

Now that I look back on that day, I bet we drove the security people nuts!

This is also the time of year when the crafters and artists gather to show and sell their wares. I like to ask them how they got interested in their craft. It’s always an interesting story and who doesn’t love to get a handmade gift during the holiday season?

Being neither crafty or artistic, I have long seen myself as the audience. After all, how would you know how talented and clever you are without someone to tell you?

This is also the time of year when the donation requests arrive, and with so many deserving people with needs, it is always hard to choose which to give too.  

The homeless, youth aging out of foster care, children who need food, seniors, animals, the environment – the list seems endless. [Editor’s note: And in this age, add democracy in the form of local news, too! Thanks for chipping in, Kathleen!]

Many in my age group have limited incomes, but we do what we can. And if enough of us do what we can, we can make a difference.

This Thanksgiving, along with everything else I am grateful for, I am thankful for all of us who touch lives in ways that may not make headlines, but enable us to sleep peacefully at night.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. See you at a store soon!

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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