Yesterday morning, I drove 2 1/2 hours to Atlanta, GA.
And yesterday evening, I drove 2 1/2 hours back home.
I'd driven there to see my sister, Ana, who had flown in from CA to finalize some things at their home
left behind in GA, when they moved to CA last month.
We got a flat tire on the way, and I thank God that we were able to slow
from 70 m.p.h. in the far left passing lane to safely stopped in the far right median.
(When we arrived, we spent some time together at her church, then later, at The Cheesecake Factory).
I also went to Atlanta to shop for some things I needed at IKEA.
I wandered around the store for 3 hours with my family, and we had a blast!
We took pictures, pretended the mini display houses were ours
(Miss A, my college girl, straightened each space as we went along!
Yeah, we're related.),
I gathered a bunch of stuff, and then I had a big yellow bag full of stuff.
Here's what I put up on the conveyor belt at the end of the spree.
A Hessum Rug. Needed for the floor by the back door.
Four Kasset Paper Holder Boxes. Needed for school papers in the office.
Four Kasset Magazine Holder Boxes. Needed for magazines in the office.
Projs Clear Plastic Desk Pads. I needed two. One for each side of our L-shaped desk.
Trogsta Floor Lamp. For the office, we needed one next to the bench settee at the window.
Drommar Cake Decorating Set. For well, cake decorating. I need to decorate cakes.
Senior Bamboo 3-piece Utensil Set. Needed.
Rajtan spice jars. I totally needed these.
However, once all the things were rung up, and the cashier gave me the total
of approximately $62.82, I discovered that the paper holder boxes
hadn't rung up correctly, and I brought that to her attention.
This prompted her to call another employee in the Office Organization Department,
to see, if in fact, said items were indeed ON SALE,
which prompted THAT employee to come up to the register to see,
if in fact, said items were indeed ON SALE,
which then prompted another call back to another employee in the
Office Organization Department to see,
if in fact, said items were indeed ON SALE.
This took 10 minutes.
MEANWHILE, the line behind me was growing longer
and I started assessing the items that I thought I needed.
Why, when I really didn't want to, was I about to spend $62.82?
(Yes, I realized I drove myself and my wallet to the store and perused it of my own free will.)
However, I began to wonder if I really NEEDED the rug, the paper holders, the mats,
the lamp, the cake decorator, bamboo utensils, and jars.
I already (actually) have one Hessum rug.
I already have other containers for paper, other lamps, cake decorating supplies,
utensils, and two sets of unopened jars.
As the items lay there, waiting to be retrieved,
I decided that these things weren't necessary for my happiness.
As I assessed the usefulness, price, and mass of each item,
I concluded that this stuff was unable to contribute to my goal of simplicity.
I determined that my riches could not be collected into a large yellow bag,
nor could these treasures (though they be stored in a box called "my house")
compare to the riches contained in a simpler life.
I became more aware, in those 10 minutes, than in any other time in my life,
that the looming shelves and aisles and bins full of everything
during my floor-arrow-directed mile trek through the store
had indeed enticed this consumer to spend.
In those 600 seconds, my pile of NEEDS became a pile of WANTS.
I changed my mind, and asked the cashier to void the receipt
(and if she'd like me to return all the items to their locations on the sales floor.
She said no, that they had associates that did that).
Now don't get me wrong, IKEA is great.
The prices are good.
The quality is, too.
(So is the chocolate.)
I will shop there again, when I NEED some things.
But, yesterday, while standing there, waiting to haggle over a few dollars,
and not buying anything, I became content.
With blessings I already use.
With stuff I've already bought.
With what I already have.