I think I find that sense of “goodwill towards men” mostly during the holidays. But wouldn’t you know I found it right smack in the middle of May. My family was coming in for a visit and along with showing them the Oregon Coast I also had unpacking/organizing the garage at the top of my agenda. Everyone knew this before they got here and were fully supportive.
My parents and my aunt and uncle arrived on Saturday and by Monday they were already nagging, I mean, reminding me about the garage project. Knowing that this reminding would continue until it was done I just decided to get started. Plus I had a babysitter. All day. Amazing.
My mom and I went out first and started making piles to donate, trash, and keep. Later my dad and uncle came out to break down boxes and make donation, recycle, and trash runs. I was amazed at the end of the day when the entire garage had been sorted and organized. In the process several missing items turned up. Among the items I found a box of my shoes, our alarm clock, my yoga mat, and a hot glue gun. It was very exciting! I had so much organizing momentum built up that I decided to keep going and do our office, too. By dinnertime it was all finished and I was thrilled to have the rest of the week to relax and enjoy spending time with my family.
I woke up Tuesday to a beautiful, sunny day. I figured we had worked hard the day before so we would just take it easy that day. It was a perfect day for a pair of sandals. Maybe I’d wear one of the pairs I found yesterday. I didn’t see the shoes in my closet so I went outside to check the garage. The box was gone.
I knew it was no one’s fault but my own. In my haste, the box of shoes had been taken with the donation pile by mistake. They weren’t fancy shoes, but I thought they were pretty cute. Some of them had good memories too. Like the orange ones I bought when my friend opened her shoe store or the funky green pair I got for $5 during the CASA shoe sale at the Armory. The two pairs of dress sandals I liked to wear to school because they didn’t make my feet hurt at the end of the day.
So instead of just letting them go, I called Goodwill because maybe I could get them back. I was told that items get put out on the floor no later than 3 days after they are donated. My mom, dad, and I headed to Lincoln City to see if we could rescue any of my shoes. It was about a 35 minute drive so I told them that if they weren’t there today I would just forget it. I walked into the shoe section and started looking. I found one pair and then another and another until I wanted to shout, “Get this girl a shopping cart! Mama’s bringing home her shoes!”
All in all we found 10 pairs of my shoes. The brown sandals were gone but I couldn’t complain. Then I saw the price tags. $7.99, $8.99, $7.99, $6.99. Seriously? When did Goodwill become Nordstrom’s? I did the mental math – at around $7 a pair this cart of shoes was going to cost me $70. Holy cow! So I decided I would tell the truth, beg, and see if anyone believed me.
“Um hi. I just donated this cart of shoes by mistake and I’d like to have it back. This is my purse, too.” I felt crazy and embarrassed as I explained my situation to the cashier and then to not one, but two store managers. In an even more deserate attempt I told them that I had many of these shoe boxes at home and I could bring them in if they needed me to. (It’s true I like my shoes in their boxes. Plus Abigail might have to do a diarama one day.) I then got even MORE frantic and said, QUOTE, “Like this orange patent leather pair – I got this from the J. Crew Outlet in Lynchburg (like they know where that is) and I only paid $5 at their warehouse sale. And this pair was only $5 too. So I don’t mind buying some of them back, but I really don’t want to pay more the second time than I did the first.” Someone should have stopped me. Then the two managers went to the back room to talk about the situation aka crazy shoe box warehouse sale girl.
I was mortified. It was a really awful feeling – standing there being completely honest and having 3 people looking back at you with skepticism. But you know what, the managers came back out and told me to take all of my shoes. They even bagged them up for me. And then it was my turn to stand there in disbelief. After thanking them way too many times we headed home — marveling at the goodwill I had discovered at the Goodwill.