“My husband wants me to quit filling up the house with thrift store junk,” the customer at the cash register said.
I was adding up her purchases, which included a small table, three floor lamps, a large artificial tree, two rolled carpets, six blouses and a stationary exercise bike she had dragged from the back of the store.
“Don’t let him see them,” I replied. When it comes to thrift store purchases, I live by this pearl of wisdom: What a man doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
“How can I not let him see them? I have an exercise bike here, not to mention the rest of this stuff.” She waved her hand toward the impressive array of items she had accumulated in two hours of shopping.
“Here’s what you do,” I explained. “You arrive home and walk into the house empty handed, except for the pocketbook you walked out with. Everything remains in your car until an opportune time, such as when your husband is working, napping, getting a haircut or watching the Falcons. You have to be ready at the drop of a hat to seize that moment to unload your car, getting all your stuff placed around the house as quickly as possible.
“Once your items are inside, it should take him a while to notice; maybe months, if you’ve placed things strategically so it blends well. Then, when he finally notices and says, ‘Where did you get this exercise bike?’ you reply, ‘That old thing? It’s been around for months! Is this the first time you’ve noticed it?’
“Your husband will be so worried about losing his memory that he won’t ask about any of the other stuff.”
My customer seemed happy with this advice. After she had shoved, stuffed and crammed her treasures into a small Toyota Camry, she sped off with a broad grin on her face.
Actually I’m not the only one privy to this tidbit of shopping wisdom. I’ve discovered that many women leave their thrift store purchases languishing in cars until their husbands aren’t around.
“Oh, I do that all the time,” one woman said when I was dispensing my What a Man Doesn’t Know advice. “I haven’t brought anything directly into the house for years!”
Maybe men should employ the tactic more often. Not long after my conversation with the Toyota Camry woman, a man almost bought a mud-brown, heavily used entertainment cabinet designed to house a 27-inch analog TV.
“This will make a beautiful armoire when it’s restored,” I told him, evidently echoing his own thoughts. He scrutinized the cabinet from every angle, running his hands appreciatively over the worn, scarred surface.
“I thought so too,” he nodded enthusiastically. “This is a well-made cabinet.”
But instead of buying the thing and hauling it home, he made the mistake of calling his wife. She arrived 15 minutes later. “Are you out of your mind? I’m not having this piece of junk in my house!” She screamed.
As she marched from the store with her abashed husband in tow, I wanted to shout after him, “Don’t you know that what a woman doesn’t know won’t hurt her?”