Photo credit: Shewanda Riley

“Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”  That sums up the advice that most people gave me when they found out I’d be spending part of my 2011 Christmas vacation in Las Vegas.       I got great tips on where to shop and sightsee.   Since I’m not a big shopper and was on a budget, I was just planning on window shopping in one of the local malls.  Even though folks recommended this mall as the place to shop, I was really not very impressed with what I saw. Most of the stores looked like the same ones I’d seen at malls in Texas.  

I turned one corner and saw it: a “Final Blowout” sign inside a well-lit store full of colorful racks of shirts, pants, and jackets. My first thought was that there had to be something wrong with the clothes. Because I had time and was curious about what was being sold, I stepped into the store and was greeted quickly.  Initially I was just going to casually browse thinking that the clothes had to have something wrong with them since they were discounted so much. Then, my curiosity led me to begin looking through the clothing racks for clothes in my size.  

One of the salesclerks saw me looking and cheerily shared, “Everything is $9.00 or less.   Plus, there’s 20% off.” I started to shake my head as I continued browsing.  I asked her “What was wrong with them” as I touched the soft sleeve of a burnt orange wool tunic. She shook her head and replied, “Nothing. These clothes are just fresh from the outlet stores. There’s nothing wrong with them; they just didn’t sell. This store is the last place they’ll be on sale.”   

The more I walked around the store, the more I couldn’t believe the bargains I found. They had true designer clothes for less than $10!!!!  I bought just a few things, not sure of how much my suitcase would hold.  However, I went back the next day expecting to find less…but instead I found more bargains including full length leather coats that bought for myself and others as Christmas gifts.

Had I done as I have in the past, I would have judged the quality of clothes on the fact that they were on sale.  In this case, I was judging the quality of clothes.  However, I’ll be the first to admit that I also have a problem of mistakenly judging others.  I’ve noticed that I seemed to connect more with people who’d mistakenly judged, and I thought I had nothing in common with. And those who I thought I had so much in common with there was little connection.  I’ve known for years the truth of Luke 6:37 which says “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  But I still had to admit how God showed me through different experiences (like clothes shopping) that I’d unfairly judged others.   

What that taught me is just because it may not be what you expected doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.   In some cases, it’s exactly what you need. I’ve also learned to never pass by a good sale on clothes because I still wear that leather coat!

Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller “Love Hangover:  Moving From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends.”  She can be reached at or by visiting