I Bought a Stranger a $5 Dress

The other day I was looking for dress for my grown daughter and wound up buying one for a complete stranger.

When my daughter was a girl I bought all of her dresses…and bows…and shoes…and rounds of skeet ball at the game arcades around Dallas.  Pretty much all of those places are closed now. The West End was her favorite. Dave and Busters moved into one of the movie theatres up on Central where we used to play pinball. The next best place was also on Central Expressway and is now a church, but was named Q-Zone in its last incarnation. We used to have a five dollar limit at those arcades and most of that was used up by my daughter…usually within the first ten minutes and then she’d be forced to watch me play pinball using the first fifty cent from our play money.

When the arcades started closing I wanted to show her that we could have fun on that same five dollars at other places. too. After trying her eight year old’s suggestions of ice cream and dollar menus I made a suggestion that we try to find a piece of clothing for that five dollars. It didn’t take long for that ridiculous idea to become a family bet. The result was that we would pick a outlet store and each enter with only a $5 bill. I would carry an additional $1 bill for taxes and we had one hour to find a piece of clothing within that limit. The caveat was that the article of clothing had to fit and had to be worn one day the following week. Whoever found the lowest priced item also won the other five dollars in cash. We called it The Five Dollar Run.

I had to change the rules right away after her initial “wins” came with the selection of plastic rings, bracelets and hair do-dads, but eventually she found her way to the CLEARANCE areas of the stores and scored nicely. She keeps the practice today and we often exchange our finds for one another throughout the year.

So, the other day I was in one such store that utilizes the letter ROSS in their name when I noticed a young lady watching me flip through the rack of dresses and select a few for my cart. After a little bit she walked over and said that I was picking the wrong sizes if I was shopping for myself. We laughed…I more than her. Eventually I told her about the FIVE DOLLAR RUN and she didn’t miss a beat and checked the prices of the items in my cart. She was surprised at the selection and impressed at the $5-$7 prices and within thirty minutes she wanted to join in. I agreed but added that we had to find something for each other instead of for ourselves.

We shopped and talked about my daughter and why I wasn’t buying dresses for a wife instead. It was a pretty good time for the next half hour or so until she spotted something and asked me to meet her at the dressing rooms in five minutes. I agreed, but was concerned that she had forgotten that the idea was to find something for me to wear. She is a busty petite with slightly longer legs than most in that size range. I had already spotted a high-wasted, navy designer dress with a missing belt and broken string loop that was going to look great flaring out just above her knees. It was final tagged at $7.99.

At the dressing rooms she was holding up a pair of gray and black U.S. Polo brand boots with missing laces and what looked like a nail or possibly just a rack scratch on the toe of the left one. She asked if the scratch was acceptable then laughed and slapped me on the shoulder when I showed her the dress with the missing belt and loop.

The boots fit fine and look pretty good with a pair of David Bitton  “Buffalo” jeans that we got at a different store the next day during lunch. She didn’t let me see her in the dress but said that she liked it a lot.  She says that it sets off the red hues in her cocoa-brown legs and that the flared design make her feel like dancing. She wants to know if I’d to see her in the dress on Valentine’s Day. She found a pair of heels and borrowed a belt from her roommate. She went back and picked up a new perfume, as well. She’s also found a party that’s equal distance between her place and mine. Her roommate wants to know if I have a friend. I laughed at that and had to laugh again when she told me the cover for that shin-dig was just $5 per couple.

One thought on “I Bought a Stranger a $5 Dress

  1. Tim Seibles says:

    Yo, Mr. Mardis! What you failed to mention was how a smooth brotha like yourself always finds the best on and off the rack. I remember when once upon a time one of us might see an attractive young lady and I’d say “built to last” and you’d say “built to first”. May the good times find you always, Basa.

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