This story is two years old. It first appeared on my family finance blog, The Family CEO, but I want to share it here too because it involves pretty houses. And plates.
From October, 2011:
Last week I attended the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago (or Schaumburg to be more specific).
After it was over, I gave myself the gift of an extra day and a half in the Windy City, because I love that place.
On Sunday afternoon, I hit up IKEA and then took a drive down by Wrigley Field and onto Lake Shore Drive.
It was a fabulous, fall, drive-with-the-windows-down-and-the-sunroof-open kind of day. People were out walking dogs and pushing baby strollers. It was the kind of day you wish you could bottle up.
On Monday, an equally gorgeous day, I made the short trip to Naperville, IL.
Have you ever been to Naperville?
It’s adorable. Charm times 1000.
I had been in town about ten minutes when I sent my husband a text asking: “Can we move to Naperville?”
I was thinking maybe we could live in this house.
Or this one.
Or, oh my, this one.
After I was done house stalking, I had deep dish pizza at Giordanos’s, and then started shopping the tree-lined, downtown streets.
Eventually I happened on the Serendipity Resale Shop, which is just as charming as it sounds. It benefits Little Friends, an organization serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Just inside the door I spotted one of my weaknesses: a table full of dishes. Twelve plates in a pattern I love were among them. There were four each of three different sizes.
With the name of the store in mind, I decided that this was indeed serendipitous, so I took the eight larger plates to the counter, with plans to buy them and carry them home on the plane.
That’s when this nice lady – a fellow shopper – insisted that I couldn’t leave the four smaller plates behind.
And the sweet ladies who run the shop agreed and told me I could have them for half price.
Well, come on, what was I going to do?
As they were ringing me up, I spotted a small, framed print that had been marked down to $30 and was now half off of that.
I added it to my pile.
And then I refused to look any more. Because that shop had some seriously neat stuff and I was still only a foot inside the door.
Once I had paid for my purchases and the cute ladies (who are volunteers and only work on Mondays) had wrapped them up, it became obvious to me that carrying them onto the plane was going to be inconvenient.
And when I say inconvenient, I mean impossible.
They. Were. Heavy.
Plan B was to find someplace where I could ship them home. The rental car GPS directed me to a nearby UPS store and I carried in my packages.
My first clue that I may not have completely thought this through was when the guy at the counter told me it would be $25-$30 just to pack up my stuff.
While he was doing that, I had time to reflect on the fact that, not only were the dishes heavy, but with all the bubble wrap and packing peanuts the guy was pulling out, they were going to be bulky too.
Heavy + bulky = expensive to ship.
The UPS bill came to $78.07. For $42 worth of dishes and a $15 picture.
Cost of purchases: $58.99
Cost to ship them home: $78.07
Now I went to business school, so I realized that this wasn’t a very good deal. But I was already too far in.
I mean, who returns things to the Serendipity Resale Shop?
And besides, I loved those plates.
So I handed over my card and went to McDonald’s to get a Diet Coke, glad that UPS was now in charge of my purchases and I wouldn’t be wrestling them through O’Hare security and into an overhead bin.
I went home to KC, got back to my life, and had nearly forgotten about the whole thing. But a few days later this arrived.
Christmas in October!
And in case you were wondering, the irony that I engaged in this transaction immediately after attending the Financial Blogger Conference isn’t lost on me.
But I’m no match for perfect fall days, pretty houses, and nice ladies with plates in resale shops.