Posted by: Ingrid | November 7, 2010

The 99 Cent Store: What she said

Today marks five years precisely since the day I first met my dear husband and friend.  Which makes it an opportune time to get in writing the story of our meeting because five is just such a nice number.  Five!  I can’t get over how crazy it is that someone I’ve known only five years has so completely changed my life.

Five years, in fact, felt so epic that I felt compelled to sort through all of my old journals to find out what I’d actually been thinking at the time.  Reading my words from the end of 2005 was actually quite.  Three words to describe life back then.  So.  Much.  Drama.  It was very funny to see just how crazy and up and down I (and everyone else in my life) seemed to be.  But that is beside the point.

November 7, 2005, marked the fateful night when I left work with the ambitious plan of stopping by four grocery stores before having dinner with one of my roommates.  With list in hand, I walked into the 99 Cent Store little knowing my destiny was about to be altered.


I headed for the candy aisle.  I was training for the Honolulu marathon and Balance bars were 2 for 99 cents.  As I walked down the aisle violins began to play and the scent of roses was in the air.  No.  Not really.  I think all I heard was the annoying piped in music and that periodic perky voice saying Thanks for shopping the 99 cent only store! But there, sauntering down the candy aisle (in search of chocolate) was a man I’d seen two weeks before at Biola’s fitness center.  I’d passed him on my way into the fitness center, thought he was someone else, flashed him a huge smile, then realized belatedly that I didn’t know him at all.  I felt dumb.  He, on the other hand, thought that with a smile like the one I’d given him I must be totally into him.

I always feel like I need to throw that last part in lest people think that starting a relationship based on meeting a stranger in the candy aisle at a place where candy bars are 25 cents apiece is really prudent.  Please note that I had at least some sort of established contact (eye contact counts) already at a place other than a discount store.  I DO NOT ADVOCATE TROLLING THE AISLES OF DISCOUNT STORES IN THE GREATER LA AREA IN ORDER TO FIND YOUR LIFE PARTNER.

Public service announcement over.

So there we were.  He asked me what my name was and we started chatting in the candy aisle.  Eventually he noticed my list and relieved me of my shopping basket so that I could continue moving around the store.  Mostly I am a good multi-tasker but this time I was so distracted trying to figure out if we were flirting or not that the shopping trip was sort of a failure.  Not a failure in the long term sense of finding the man I love and eventually married but in the short term sense of what was I going to eat for the rest of the week.

Facts were exchanged.  Witty banter was thrown playfully back and forth.  I even scored a $40 donation for the marathon I was running with Team in Training.  He broached the “do you like coffee and could we perhaps continue this conversation in a different context” question at some point, though we disagree as to when it actually happened.  Then he walked me to my car and we continued talking under the light of a street lamp.  So much for those other errands.  I specifically remember him telling me about John Sailhammer and his Old Testament class before he scored my phone number.  Nothing like a little academic conversation to make a girl swoon, eh?

Then I got in my car and he walked across the parking lot with my phone number.  And my groceries.

Whoops!  Got out of the car, chased him across the parking lot, and recovered said groceries.  Then I went home to replay and hash out the meeting with my dear friend, as only girls can do.

We used to make a pilgrimage to the 99 Cent Store on the 7th of every month and reenact meeting in the aisle.  (I know now that half of you are thinking Oh, how cute! the other half are about to be sick.)  We also stopped in on our two year anniversary, just a few days before finding out we were pregnant.

No, there is absolutely nothing classy about a meeting place like the 99 Cent Store (though it never fails to make people laugh).  But honestly, I wouldn’t trade the story of our meeting, or the five years that followed it, for anything.



  1. wow, out in the “aww how cute” category. what a beautiful, heart warming story. which i know have to taint by asking… do they sell $0.99 pregnancy tests and ovulation prediction kits in dollar stores in the US? I recently discovered that they do in Canada – SCORE!!

    • I think ovulation kits were a bit too high end for the 99 Cent Store, though I did purchase a couple of pregnancy tests there at various times. I believe they also sold packs of condoms for 99 cents, though I would be far less likely to trust those!

  2. […] associate with Clint after we met in the aisle of the 99 Cent Store (full story in lengthy detail here).  Oh, 2005, you were a crazy crazy […]

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