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Shopping addiction is getting out of control

The recent surge of my Canadian dollar has led me down the road to an addiction more powerful than a charging beaver, stronger than a Canadian beer. My name is Linda Jones and I am a Buffalo shopping addict.

Up until recently, I didn't even enjoy shopping, and if I had to, I certainly wasn't motivated to travel to another country to do it. Buffalo has changed all of that!

For years I led a "shopping life" as dismal as faded green ink. Now it is as colorful as my currency -- fun and friendly hues of blue, purple and red, with silver and gold shimmers.

This is the way I see the world when I am "shop tripping" at Tops or Wegmans, and I have the discount cards in my wallet and on my key chain to prove it.

Not only am I now shopping in another country, but I am actually buying things I don't need. Canadians can't resist a bargain, but we're not accustomed to finding them so frequently. A one-eye magnifying glass, like the ones used by jewelers and Col. Klink, has never been a matter of life or death for me. But when I saw them on clearance at a store in Buffalo, I didn't hesitate in buying the bulk pack of 10.

It didn't stop there, though. I chanced upon the most innovative battery-operated plastic pig, which is motion-activated to oink when someone walks past it. The price was to die for and I had to have it!

I found it necessary to justify this expenditure to family and friends. I had to look no further than the packaging. The motion-sensitive swine was being marketed as a "point of sale" tool, so I rationalized that every tenacious Avon lady should own one.

My latest purchase has destroyed any illusions that I have been harboring about being in control of my Buffalo shopping addiction. A recent Sunday afternoon was deemed as a family day, so we gave the boys an option and let them choose.

"OK, guys, it's either mushroom picking in Fort Erie or shopping in Buffalo."

Upon arrival at the flea market, we gave the kids a few toonies and told them to go nuts. Just in case I never make it to Disney World, I have forever memorized their childlike joy, salivating as if in a candy store.

Fatigued by the frenzied pace, I momentarily leaned against a table to rest. An alert vendor told me that anything in the bin that my elbow was leaning on could be had for a dime. The sight of a plastic bin brimming with naked and partially clad Ken dolls didn't even phase me. All I heard was the word "dime."

I tried to control myself by confidently offering 9 cents Canadian. The sales lady stood firm and my resolve quickly weakened when I found one wearing pink satin boxers with black trim. I reasoned that it would totally complement the black and white polka dot purse, trimmed with a fuchsia boa, that I had purchased for a steal at the last booth.

As darkness falls and "last call" is announced over the department store loud speakers, I head back over the Peace Bridge to the equally enjoyable comforts of home. I feel a certain patriotic bond with the Canadian Customs officials who are the first to greet me back. They ask me if I have purchased anything. I proudly state my bizarre buys, and they don't flinch an eye. "Welcome back to Canada," they say, smiling.

Perhaps they just know what I am learning. "Being a loonie isn't so bad after all, eh?"

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