There are many things I’m good at (okay, there are a few things I’m good at, and that’s being generous). But one thing I’m terrible at is shopping. And how can that be? Aren’t girls, in general, supposed to be excellent shoppers? Almost every one of my friends is. So what happened to me? Is the shopping gene missing from my double helix? Was I abandoned in too many shopping malls as a hild? (Mom?) Regardless of the reason, I figure if I haven’t discovered my love of shopping by now, it probably isn’t going to happen.

So I spend a not-insignificant­ part of my time pestering my friends and acquaintances to be my personal shoppers. So far, I haven’t had a lot of luck.

One friend in particular shows up at every dinner with the most darling of tops. “Oh, I just popped into a store and picked this up at lunch,” she always says. Popped in and picked it up. If only it were that easy. And why, oh why, I always ask her, could you not just pick up two instead of one? I’d even be happy to pay a small markup for her trouble. But, for some reason, she always conveniently “forgets” about me.

And then there are the cute girls at work. Not only are they great shoppers, they are great sale shoppers! There’s nothing worse than someone popping into a store and leaving with a great purchase than someone else popping into the store and getting the same thing for half price.

Again, I plead for shopping help, but alas, nothing. Although, to be fair, I did receive one of my favorite shirts when a coworker happened to buy two different sizes, and the one that didn’t fit her (the larger one, of course) fit me. Score!

But since those wins are few and far between, I’m seriously thinking about a personal shopper. I’m sure, like me, you’re thinking that’s a bit extravagant. But after reading our story on personal shoppers (see page 50), I realized that what I’d thought about personal shoppers was really just urban legend. They’re not all expensive, and they don’t all shop only at the most expensive stores.

So, the next time you see me, I’ll be the best-dressed one in the group.

And as important as I think the personal shopper story is, I have to tell you that if you do nothing else, be sure to read the travel stories we have in this issue. The beautiful Aishwarya Rai gives us an intimate look at Mumbai, India. (In case you didn’t realize it, American began service between Delhi and Chicago last November!) There’s also a fascinating look at Alaska’s long nights by Kevin Raub. And a new writer to our pages, Gail Harrington, takes us on a supercool adventure in the middle of almost nowhere to discover some age-old, enormous creatures.

You’ll want to put this issue into your carry-on: There’s a lot of interesting stuff inside that you need to know about.

I’d love to tell you more, but I’ve got to run. My personal shopper is calling.

Picture of Sheri Burns

Sherri Gulczynski Burns