The day we spent $127 on soap

Alternately titled: I hope all the women in our lives like to smell good because you’re getting soap for Christmas…


We were in Hallstatt, Austria.  It was our second day there and the weather was spectacular.  Before heading up the mountain, we decided to walk through town and shop in the local shops.  The night before we had walked by a shop filled with the most beautiful soap I had ever seen.  It was all different colors and flavors and it smelled amazing.

“Let’s get some soap tomorrow to give our moms for Christmas,” I suggested.  I don’t know why I suggested this.  Who wants soap for Christmas?

*pause for flashback scene*

When I was in first grade, we had our annual Christmas party.  As is tradition in every single elementary school since the very beginning of time itself, we drew names and had a Secret Santa giveaway in which we bought a small, inexpnsive present for someone in the class.

My name was drawn by a boy named Troy.  Apparently his mom did not have girls and did not know what to get a little girl…so while everyone else got cute little Hello Kitty trinkets and bracelet, I got a bar of soap.  The class played with their toys and I held my…soap.

Second grade, Christmas rolls around again.  My name is, yet again, drawn by a boy.  I don’t remember his name.  What’s another good ’80’s name we could give him?  How about Brandon.  Let’s go with that.

“Brandon” got me soap.  It was shaped like a Hippopotomos and it was pink.  I tried not to cry because dangit! I didn’t want soap.  My friend Leslie got Poochie stickers.  I got soap.

Third grade.  Mr. Stephens class.  My name drawn yet again by a boy.  I think it was David, but I’m not entirely sure.  And I’ll give you a second to guess what I got.

I know.  It’s almost unbelievable, but my mom will vouch for me.  I got soap.  SOAP!  It was a little red, Christmasy roller thing of soap.  Like a bar of deoderant…but soap.

I didn’t even try to hide my disappointment that year.  I burst into tears and my mom had to usher me out of the room. 

I never received soap again at a class party after that, thankfully.  But my faithful parents, being the loving, supportive people they are – they give me soap in my stocking every year.  Hardy har har.

So now you know my background with soap and Christmas. 

* End flashback. *

Which is why it is odd that I would choose to buy someone soap for Christmas.  But these little bars were so pretty and they were made in the most beautiful town on earth so it seemed like a good idea.

When we walked by the store, the overwhelming aroma took over us.  It was like drugs. And the prices seemed so…inviting.

“Hey,” Lee said.  “This stuff is cheap.  Let’s get some for everyone.”  At a Euro or two a bar, this felt like a steal so we grabbed a basket and started filling it.  Lemon Verbena, Chocolate, Lavendar, Honey Suckle….so many enticing flavors.  We grabbed something for everyone and danced to the register, our basket overflowing.

I handed the woman our basket and credit card.  I was adding up the soap in my head and figured we had about 35 Euros worth of soap.  Still a little much, but I figured it would cover several people for Christmas so no big deal.

She handed back my credit card and the receipt and pointed at my total.

96 Euro.

Let me say that again.

96 Euro.

That equals 127 dollars.  On soap.  SOAP!

And then it hit me.  We weren’t paying a Euro a bar…we were paying by the gram.  Sweet Mother of God!  We spent 127 dollars on soap.  I don’t even like soap.  And I certainly don’t like to give it for Christmas.

To the women in our lives…I hope you like soap.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, right?!  Don’t take it personally.  We don’t think you stink.  We just can’t afford to buy you anything else.  Because we spent 127 dollars on soap.


Merry Christmas…er…