COLUMN: It’s shopping, not buying, that’s the chore

I have a small patch of lawn at the front of the house, too tiny to easily mow with the lawn tractor ...

I have a small patch of lawn at the front of the house, too tiny to easily mow with the lawn tractor. Fortunately, a kind soul a couple of years ago offered me a discarded electric mower which worked out quite nicely, despite mowing off a chunk of cord on its second use.

Thus, there was a sense of lament when the machine began to make some unusual noises, followed by smoke and a grinding halt to its rotary motion.

Some neighbours stopped to chat a couple of Sundays ago, and since I knew they attended the local flea market on a regular basis, I asked if they ever saw any cheap electrics for sale.

As a matter of fact, they related, the market is still open and though they didn’t notice any such items, there might be one available.

Since my city son-in-law was out for a visit, I asked if he would like to join me. He agreed, adding he’d also like to check out one of the department stores for a water toy to keep the toddler cool on such a hot day.

Now, I’m not a shopper. I go to stores for something specific, find the item and get out as quickly as I can (except of course for a cruise through the tool and sports departments to see if there is anything new that I didn’t need but might want).

Son-in-law, I discovered, is a shopper. We enter the store together, unsuccessfully peruse the water toys and then it’s time to go – for me. Not so him. I suggested I’d wait outside, and I waited and finally the hot sun got to me so I climbed into the truck, cranked the air and waited some more. Finally he emerged clutching a $1 bubble maker.

Only an hour left before the flea market and my possible purchase of an electric lawn mower was gone for another week, my grass in the meantime rising to epic heights.

At the market, as people were packing up their sale items, I raced around looking for what was not available. I even passed up an opportunity to chat with the attractive woman giving away a crate-full of kittens.

Son-in-law, on the other hand, was fascinated by all the trinkets, junk and farm produce (buy that when the market first opens, not this late in the day, I admonished).

I probably spent more time looking for him than I did a lawn mower.

As we were driving away, and I relented to his request to stop at yet another store to buy the so far elusive water toy, there on the side of the street was a garage sale with, lo and behold, an electric lawn mower right out in front.

Three minutes later, with fifty bucks accepted, it was in the back of the truck. An hour later we left the second department store with a suitable toy.

The kid was happy, I was happy and after mowing the little front lawn with my new acquisition, it was time for a beer and talk about the possibility of spending a weekend fishing on some remote lake.

That discussion arrived at the need to acquire a small aluminum boat since, on the last trip I took the son-in-law, I found his unfamiliarity with a canoe a little disconcerting, especially in the middle of a lake.

Thus a more stable craft is in order. Again, using the same frugality that led me to the used mower, I began checking Craigslist for boats. There were quite a few, but do you think anyone selling them would get back to me?

I responded to the ads, noting the price – generally about $500 – was right, the boat’s size and condition looked good, and I’d come to buy it as soon as I was told where it was. Not a response, and a day or two later the boats were no longer listed.

Either there are a lot of fathers-in-law taking city sons fishing, or Craigslist sellers aren’t quite as adept sales people as those who stock flea markets and yard sales.

So now that I have filled my need for a cheap electric mower, I’m ‘desperately’ in the market for a 12-foot ‘wide-beam’ aluminum boat. If there’s one cluttering your back yard and you want a quick deal let me know.

Just Posted

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read