Remote Shopping: Spending (and Saving) in Dubois

How do we get what we need or can’t resist? Count the ways …

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We had to deliver some boxes of documents to a friend in Oklahoma, which gave me the chance to revisit a guilty pleasure: Wasting time in big box stores.

Back when I worked in Manhattan, I used to spend my lunch hours on stressful days wandering the aisles of Bed, Bath, and Beyond and being tempted by things I didn’t need. “Get back to work,” I’d whisper to myself after about an hour.

Can’t do that any more. But the trip to Tulsa did give me a chance to roam the aisles of Target and Lowes, and to find exactly the right iron-black knobs and handles  to replace the  shiny faux brass vanity hardware that looked so out of place in a bathroom in our log house.

Now, what to do with the old ones? I could just donate them to the Op Shop, but it did cross my mind to put them up for sale on that wonderful new marketplace, the Dubois, WY Classifieds group on Facebook.

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It’s fun to wander these virtual “aisles,” just to see what’s on offer, from trailer hitches to horses and hiking boots to curling irons. The site is also a sort of community central where people can post ISO (in search of) items, seeking babysitters, strong guys to do repair jobs, and even lost cats and dogs.

Not long ago, some children in Crowheart were reunited with their lost puppy when some friend of a member saw a post from travelers en route to Jackson who had picked up a young dog trotting along Highway 26. They were happy to wait in Jackson if someone would drive over and retrieve it. The last I saw, local people heading that way (for shopping?) were offering to help.

roundupThe time-honored place to announce items for sale, along with tag sales and events such as wine tastings and art shows, is the Roundup (aka the “poop sheet”), put out weekly by the VFW and delivered to shops around town. We always pick up the Roundup on Wednesday or Thursday, and scan it eagerly.

The serendipity is just as enjoyable as my previous forays into Ikea, but generally much less costly. It’s far easier to put the Roundup down on the kitchen counter than to return all that stuff you have already put into your shopping cart. But our garage also contains evidence that sometimes we have succumbed.

Of course, I could easily have found my new drawer pulls and knobs on the Internet. If you really need it soon, and you can’t get it from one of the hardware stores here or from Family Dollar, you can order it online and UPS or Fedex will drop it at your door. There’s one important difference from Internet shopping in Brooklyn: I haven’t heard that anybody here follows the truck around and nicks the box before you can get to the door to retrieve it.

And if you don’t really need it soon, maybe you don’t need it anyway. This is yet another reason we save money by living in Dubois.

There are plenty of large retail outlets about an hour away, in Riverton, Lander, or Jackson. People going “down county” or over the pass often ask whether neighbors need something from over there. I’ve also heard that Walmart in Riverton will make announcements on the PA system asking if anyone in the store at that moment could take something back to Dubois for someone who’s buying on the phone.

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On the other hand, new temptations are always turning up right here. Sandy and some of her friends have opened a charming pop-up holiday shop downtown, and the storefronts on the site of the burned-out Mercantile look like they’ll be finished, at least on the outside, by the anniversary of the Great New Year’s Fire of 2014. We don’t know who’s planning to set up shop, but the empty windows are already appealing.

© Lois Wingerson, 2016
You can see new entries of Living Dubois every week if you sign up at the top of the right column at www.livingdubois.com.

Author: LivingDubois

I am a retired science journalist, devoted to enjoying and recording the many pleasures of life in the Wyoming's Upper Wind River Valley.

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