So, I was in the tub, reading a magazine about "Being a Recessionista" or something like that. This tip, "Ask retailers to go down on prices - any retailer. You never know unless you try!" caused a flashback so vivid, I jumped out of the tub and grabbed the computer so I could cement this memory in Cyberspace.
Most of you know my dad. For those who don't, just think of your basic small-town, good ol' boy football coach. He doesn't wear the knee-high crew socks and polyester shorts (anymore) but he carries a hankie in his back pocket and dips Skoal. He's one Ralph Lauren shirt away from being a Redneck.
Ok, on to the story. My dad rarely took me shopping. At least not for anything I would want to buy. Tennis shoes? Maybe. Paint? Definitely. Clothes that a teenage girl would wear? I can count the number of times on one hand. So, when he told me he was taking me to Dillard's to buy me a new pair of jeans, I looked around to make sure I was in the right house and then jumped in the truck, careful not to give him any time to back out of the deal.
Of course, we don't have a Dillard's in P-town, so we had to drive to Bartlesville. On the drive there, Dad talked about buying some Levi's because that's what he's always worn and he thinks women look good in Levi's. (Ew. Definitely NOT getting Levi's.) I'm thinking Z. Cavariccis. Or Pepes. Or maybe even Girbauds. Depends on how fat I look. (I was NOT fat at this point of my life. I could kick myself for thinking I was.)
We get to Dillard's and I don't waste any time packing a dressing room full of jeans. I found the perfect pair. Luckys. I don't remember the exact price, but I remember that they were over $50. We walked up to the counter and the lady rang them up. I looked at Dad's face as he looked at me incredulously and said "I can get a pair of Levi's at Bayouth's for $20." Totally mortified, I looked at the cashier and let out a totally fake chuckle, as if to let her know that, Of course, he's totally kidding. We buy thousands of dollars worth of jeans every day. She didn't even smile.
I'm hoping that he's said his piece and he's going to pay and move on. Oh, but that wouldn't be my dad's way. Nope, what he said next will be burned in my brain from now through eternity. "I'll give you twenty-five," in his country-ass, good ol' boy accent. Twenty-five. As in dollars. As in, he's bartering with a lady at Dillards. Like it's a flea market.
I have blocked out the rest of the story. I have no clue if we made it home with the jeans. Knowing Dad, it could have gone either way, but he was in a good mood that day, so I'm thinking I probably got them. I probably had to clean something to make up the difference (between Levi's and Luckys) when we got home, but I bet I got them. I also bet that, every time I wore them, I imagined a giant hole opening up in the earth and swallowing me whole.
Is it any wonder I spent my weekends, back then, in search of a 21-year-old to buy me a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill? If Dad bartering at Dillard's isn't an excuse to drink, I don't know what is.