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Amazon has become the go-to place to fulfill all your shopping needs without ever having to leave the comfort of your phone.

Mama has a better idea.

Good morning, it’s Mama, I’ve been trying to call you for the last half hour, but you never pick up your phone.

Sorry Ma, I was in the shower.

Who takes a shower for a half an hour? It’s a waste of water, Mr. Environmentalist!

I had to shave, too.

So you can’t take a break from shaving to answer a phone call from your mama? What if it was an emergency? I can’t even leave you a message on your answering machine. It always says your mailbox is full.

That’s because I’m saving all the beautiful messages you’ve already left me. It’s a kind of memoir of all the advice you’ve ever given me.

That’s not true because it doesn’t include today’s advice.

All right, Ma, I’m getting out my notepad. Give me today’s installment. But try to make it quick because I’ve got a lot to do and I need to buy some stuff from Amazon before I go to work.

Amazon shmamazon. They’re going to put every mom and pop in the country out of business. Why are you always buying more crap from that company?

Well, for one thing, it’s convenient. I can order almost anything I need and they’ll deliver it to my house the day after tomorrow for free.

Free? With all the money you spend with them you think that junk is free? I’ll tell you about free. What do you need?

First of all I need to get a new printer for my computer. My old one just broke.

Don’t bother, you can have mine, I never use it. Your brother set it up when he brought me that computer so that I could email the grandkids. But I never print anything on it. If I want to write a real letter I use stationary like I’ve always done.

Thanks, Ma.

If you invite me over for dinner on Friday I can even deliver it for free. Is that soon enough?

OK, Ma, you made your point.

What else were you planning on wasting money on?

Well, now that you mention coming over for dinner, I’d better order some groceries. I don’t even need to go to the Whole Foods anymore, because Amazon bought them and they started making home deliveries, too.

What? Are you crazy? You can’t let some grocery clerk pick out your tomatoes, or zucchini, or melons. You’ve got to feel the food and smell it and thump it.

To tell you the truth, Ma, I was just planning on getting a frozen lasagna and some salad things for Friday dinner. Do you still eat lasagna?

Look, you want lasagna, I’ll make the lasagna. I’ll make that spinach kind that I know you like and bake some garlic bread to go with it. And don’t go out and buy any fancy wine, either. I’ll bring one of those old bottles your father has stashed in the cellar.

You don’t have to do all that, Ma. But you will be saving me a lot of money.

No, I’m just keeping you from spending a lot of money you don’t have.

What’s the difference?

Saving is when you take some money that you’ve earned and put it in the bank. For me spending is when I take money out of the bank to buy groceries or gas for the car. For you spending is racking up a bunch of charges on your credit card that you’ll wind up paying interest on from now until forever.

OK Ma, point taken. But I really ought to go. I’m stopping off at the furniture store because they’re having a clearance sale on lawn furniture. I wanted to get a few new chairs for the backyard.

Hold it right there! You’re not going to believe this but it’s garbage day and I just saw the Newmans put a whole set of those white plastic molded chairs on the tree lawn. You’ve got to come over here and get them before someone else does!

Ma, I want something that will hold up, not some garbage off the curb.

There’s nothing wrong with these chairs! Mr. Newman went out and bought some expensive models that’ll probably fall apart by next year. The ones on the tree lawn are made of that indestructible plastic that will be good till the end of time. Would you rather see them dumped in the landfill while you go out and borrow money to buy the exact same chairs? At least come and look at them before you go shopping.

I don’t have time to swing by your neighborhood this morning, Ma.

All right I’ll go out and take them into my garage and you can come look at them at your convenience, Mr. Big Shot Shopper. And if you don’t want them maybe I’ll sell them myself.

What do you mean? Are you planning on having a yard sale?

No, but I’m thinking of starting my own little online resale store with the girls from the bridge club. We could advertise all the great bargains we find in our attics and closets and also deliver home-cooked meals. We’ll call our business “”


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