Last week I attended the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago (or Schaumburg to be more specific).
After it was over, I gave myself the gift of an extra day and a half in the Windy City, because I love that place.
On Sunday afternoon, I hit up IKEA and then took a Sunday drive down by Wrigley Field and onto Lake Shore Drive.
It was a beautiful fall afternoon and people were out walking dogs and pushing baby strollers. I drove with the windows down. It was perfect.
On Monday, I wanted to see a part of the Chicago area I had never been to before, so I drove to Naperville, IL.
Have you ever been to Naperville?
It’s adorable. Charm times 100. Money magazine has put it on its best places to live list more than once.
I had been in town about ten minutes when I sent my husband this text: “Can we move to Naperville?” (He loves it when I interrupt his work day with really pressing questions like that.)
His reply: “Should we leave the kids here or bring them along?”
I shopped the tree-lined streets of the downtown area, drove the historic neighborhoods that surround it, and had a Chicago deep dish pizza lunch at Giordanos’s.
While shopping I happened upon the Serendipity Resale Shop, which is just as charming as it sounds. It benefits Little Friends, an organization serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
I was only a foot inside the door when I spotted one of my weaknesses: a table full of dishes. In fact, there were twelve plates in a pattern I collect. Four each of three different sizes.
With the name of the store in mind I decided that this was indeed serendipitous, so I took the eight larger plates to the counter, with plans to buy them and carry them home on the plane.
That’s when this nice lady – a fellow shopper – insisted that I couldn’t leave the four smaller plates behind. And the sweet ladies who run the shop agreed and told me I could have them for half price.
Well, come on, what was I going to do?
As they were wrapping up my plates for the journey, I spotted a small, framed picture that had been marked down to $30 and was half off of that.
I added it to my pile.
And I then refused to look any more, because that shop had some great stuff and I was still only a foot inside the door.
Once I had paid for my purchases and the cute ladies (who are volunteers and only work on Mondays) had wrapped them up, it became obvious to me that carrying them onto the plane was going to be inconvenient. And when I say inconvenient, I mean impossible.
They. Were. Heavy.
Plan B was to find someplace nearby where I could ship them home.
The rental car GPS directed me to the closest UPS store and I carried in my loot.
My first clue that this might not have been such a brilliant plan was when the guy at the counter told me it would be $25-$30 to pack up my stuff.
While he was doing that, I had time to reflect on the fact that the dishes were heavy. And with all the bubble wrap and peanuts they were going to need, they were going to be bulky.
Heavy + bulky = expensive to ship.
The UPS bill came to $78.07. For $42.90 worth of dishes and a $16.09 picture.
Cost of purchases: $58.99
Cost to ship them home: $78.07
Now I went to business school, so I realized that this probably wasn’t a very good deal. But I was already too far in. I mean, who returns things to the Serendipity Resale Shop? And besides, I loved those plates.
So I handed over my card and then went to McDonald’s to get a Diet Coke, glad that UPS was now in charge of my purchases and I wouldn’t be wrestling them through O’Hare security and into an overhead bin.
I titled this post a personal finance blogger fail, but do I really consider it a fail?
It wasn’t a fail because I met some delightful ladies at the resale shop and my purchases benefited the Little Friends. Plus I had a memorable day.
Every time I look at the picture or set a table with the dishes, I’ll be reminded of the delightful afternoon I spent in charming Naperville. And why buying heavy stuff while on vacation isn’t a good idea.