It was only a dictionary. I could have stopped by a drug store or big-box store to purchase it. Certainly, these stores would sell a dictionary.
But I was so thrilled that my daughter’s sixth-grade teacher at , Jamie Smith, is working with students on proper use of the dictionary and thesaurus that I decided to splurge and purchase both a new dictionary and a new thesaurus from a locally owned and operated merchant.
Until this week, the last time I bought a dictionary was in 1998, when, as a fledgling professional writer, I needed access to words that my limited word-processing software couldn’t find. That year, I bought a dictionary/thesaurus combo – one book, two uses.
When that book recently went missing, I surrendered to my suspicion that the old volume likely was outdated anyway.
In the past 13 years, many of the words have new meanings and many more have joined the ranks of words worthy of dictionary definitions.
Among them, in a 2011 dictionary, MP3 is defined: “1) An MPEG [moving pictures experts group] standard used esp. for transmitting music over the internet. 2) An audio file with data encoded using this standard.”
The closest definition I might find for MP3 in the old book would have to be a variation such as: 1) “Three members of the Military Police.” or 2) “Three Members of Parliament.”
Monday evening I popped in to visit my friend, Judy Wheeler, owner of .
On entering the store, I sheepishly told Judy, “I know this is boring, especially because I usually buy literature. But this time I’m here for a resource.”
Happy to help, and not the least bit surprised by my request, Judy soon found me a two-volume set of American Heritage dictionary and thesaurus for the affordable price of about $13, including tax.
I had expected to pay more than $20 for the two books. The $13 charge was a steal.
Judy and I joked about my effort to support businesses when I told her I avoided big-box stores or drug stores when my need for resource books arose.
“You’re being a good girl!” she said with a laugh.
“I almost went to on Hopyard (which sells gently used books),” I admitted.
“That would have been great,” said Judy. “They’re also independently owned.”
“But then I’d have the same problem I did before losing my outdated dictionary and thesaurus,” I said, and continued to share local-shopping tales.
Last week, for instance, I received a nice compliment on a lovely beaded necklace I wore to a lunch.
A few weeks before, I wore the necklace on a date out with my husband. A few weeks earlier, I wore it to a business meeting. A couple of weeks prior to that, I wore it to my cousin’s wedding and received many compliments. Twice in July, I wore it with summer tops and skirts.
And it was in late June that I purchased that very same necklace at , intending to give it to a friend for her birthday. With the friend’s birthday celebration delayed time and time again over the summer, I kept the poor, orphaned necklace company, eventually admitting the item belonged to me.
So, with my friend’s belated birthday celebration on the horizon, I returned to the Berry Patch last week for a close copy of the necklace. For $28 each plus tax, my friend and I now have cutesy-coordinating necklaces – and a local artisans and business are $56 richer, not including the tax that bounces back into Pleasanton’s coffers from those sales.
Also on my shopping list is a bicycle trainer, a stationary gadget into which a temporarily can mount her existing bicycle and enjoy significant aerobic exercise while athletically out-of-order following shoulder surgery.
So far, I’ve stopped in two independently owed cycling shops.
I’m not sure I want to spend $99 to $300 for one of these gadgets.
But the alternative is that I may have to spend much more than that if I need to restock my fall and winter wardrobes, given that some injury-related weight gain, although minor in the larger scheme of things, is significant enough that half a dozen buttons have disappeared from my waistbands.
Perhaps if I walk fast enough through town looking for the new wardrobe, I’ll shed the weight and can buy fashions from local merchants in smaller than usual sizes?
Either way, I suppose, I’ll be shopping locally.