by Mr. Z
A brief story about my experience buying a purse for my wife
One of the many benefits of military life is the military exchange, which is a mini department store on every military installation.
My wife was greatly please when I was transferred to a larger base, which meant there would be a larger exchange. She pointed out how most of the exchange facilities, especially those overseas, had limited selection of clothes, accessories, and jewelry. Like many women, she was pleased with the selection of shoes and purses, where she spent most of her time.
One day, while waiting to meet another couple for dinner, we spent some time in the exchange. Like many married couples, she was absorbed in shopping and I was more interested in where we would be going for dinner. I'm sure she told me exactly which purse she wanted. I looked at the one she pointed to.
We had an agreement, for impulse purchases, we would wait at least a day before committing to the purchase. It wasn't that we couldn't afford it. The issue was we didn't have the room in our home for everything, and being in the military, which required downsizing and moving every few years, we had learned to really think about making any purchase.
A few days later, my wife made up her mind; she wanted the purse. She asked me to pick it up for her. She was insistent because another reality of shopping at military exchanges was the items you saw and wanted often were sold out quickly. I made it a point to stop at the exchange on my way home. I found the purse she wanted, or I thought I did. I went up the cashier, paid for it, and went home.
I was sure my wife would be pleased and reward me with praise and affection. Instead, as I took the purse out of the shopping bag, I saw a look of disappointment on her face. She immediately pointed out I had gotten the wrong purse. It was the correct design and color, but the wrong size.
The next day, I returned to the exchange. I walked up to customer service. The two ladies at the counter giggled when I, a Marine in uniform, brought out a purse.
"You got the wrong purse, didn't you," said one of the ladies.
I confirmed their suspicions.
"It always happens when a wife sends her husband to get her something. He always gets the wrong size or the wrong one." They kept giggling.
While I was a bit embarrassed, I felt I had to explain the reason for my mistake. "Forgive me, but a purse is not Marine Corps issue."