Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



ANN BAILEY: I'm no shopper

'Tis the season for Christmas shopping. The thought of that does not make me feel merry and bright. It's not that I'm a Scrooge who hates to part with my money, but that I just don't enjoy shopping.

Ann Bailey
Ann Bailey

'Tis the season for Christmas shopping. The thought of that does not make me feel merry and bright. It's not that I'm a Scrooge who hates to part with my money, but that I just don't enjoy shopping.

It's beyond my comprehension that some people shop for recreation. I usually have to psyche myself up to go shopping and when I do go, I take a list with me so I know exactly what I am going to buy. That way I can get in and out of the stores quickly.

My aversion to shopping has nothing to do with the quality of retail stores available in the area. I feel the same way wherever I go, large and small cities, alike. If I do go shopping while on vacation I check out specialty stores that carry items I can't find locally.

As with pretty much everything else in life, though, there are exceptions to my general dislike of shopping. In this case, it's shopping for feed, tack and other supplies for our horses.

A clean sweep


I was reminded of how much I enjoy shopping for horse care-related items when I was pushing a cart loaded with bags of horse feed. I'd much rather wander the aisles pushing a cart loaded with 250 pounds of sweet feed, than have my arms filled with clothes I need to try on. When I go shopping for feed over my lunch hour, I can walk in the store, find what I need and leave with time to spare to buy my own lunch. It usually takes about 15 minutes, tops, from the time I walk in the store to the time I'm checking out, unless I see something that catches my interest on the way to the check-out counter.

Last time, I went feed shopping I remembered I needed a broom for sweeping up the barn. I stopped the cart by the brooms and studied the choices available. I chose the most expensive one because it looked like it also was the sturdiest one. Our barn broom gets some pretty tough use, doing jobs from sweeping up straw and hay to cleaning off the sides of buildings during painting preparation work, so I wanted one that was durable.

I didn't mind paying more for the broom because I figured if it's like the last one I bought, it will last about 30 years.

The broom I bought when I was a student in the horse management program at the University of Minnesota Crookston finally gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. The washer that had been holding the handle onto the broom after the original fastener broke and I had hoped it could be patched again. This time, though it looked like it was a goner and patching no longer was an option. I figured 30 years was a good lifespan for a broom.

If the new one lasts that long, it may still be sweeping barns after I've retired. Hopefully at least a decade before I turn 80, I will pass down the broom to one of my children who will carry on the sweeping tradition.

Brooms aren't the only thing that grab my shopping fancy, though.

Horse equipment, of course

Another part of the store I like to check out is the tack section. Our family has enough equipment to outfit our three horses, but it's fun to see the latest styles in bridles, saddles and halters.


These days there are many more options to choose from than the basic colors I grew up with. The color choices for halters, for example, no longer are limited to the basic blues, forest greens and browns I grew up with and come in bright shades such as hot pink. Meanwhile, saddles and bridles aren't just leather anymore, but also come in lightweight, durable man-made materials.

Sometimes when I'm in the equipment aisle I also see what kind of brushes are for sale. Ellen, my 6-year-old daughter, likes to brush Freda, her favorite, while Freda is having her supper. Some of our horse brushes were chewed on by one of my mischievous horses and don't have many bristles as they used to. I've gradually began replacing the brushes and also buying some new metal curry combs for the horses manes and tales. I am trying to encourage Ellen's and her brothers' interest in horses so want to have decent equipment for them to use.

Until they are old enough to go shopping for it, I'll be glad to do it for them. And if any of my family or friends have feed or horse supplies on their Christmas lists, I'd be more than happy to spend a few hours finding it for them. Otherwise, I'll take my list, check it twice, put a smile on my face and dash through the stores until I'm done -- or done in.

What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.
A bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature would require infertility treatment for public employees — a step that could lead to requiring private insurance for the costly treatments.