Everybody needs stuff. And unless you are living in a nudist colony you probably need clothes. To get clothes you have to shop. This throws you into one of a few categories. Even if you are not in a specific category you are located somewhere on the spectrum of “I love it and admit I am an addict” to “Dear God I would rather donate a kidney.” There is help for all levels.
You know that really sad show on tv called Intervention? They show addicts at their lowest points, like an alcoholic who resorts to drinking mouthwash when desperate for a fix. You are the equivalent of this in the shopping arena. You will shop anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Have 5 minutes to spare at the airport? Go shopping. Had a bad day? Go shopping. Had a great day? You celebrate by shopping. The word sale is like beacon in the night for a lost ship. That piano player at the Nordstrom’s store? Like a lullaby drawing you into a shopping stupor. Some people, if on a long road trip, will stop and use the restroom at a fast food place. You will find a store and go shopping. If shopping was an olympic sport you are a gold medalist. TJ Maxx is your Cheers bar and you are Norm. Sometimes you just want to go “where everybody knows your name.” I know this category because I am this category. I had to turn it into a job in order to become a productive member of society (and my family).
The Shopaholic’s Solution
Unless you are blessed with unlimited time and a bottomless trust fund account this probably hurts your life in some way. How can you get help? Get out of the damn store. And stay out. If you don’t see it you won’t tell yourself you must have it. If you find yourself in the store with a full shopping cart (whoa how did that get there?) force yourself to add up your purchases before you get to the register. Scrutinize your need for every single one. Don’t tell yourself you can buy it and return it. That’s the shopaholic version of one more drink. We shopaholics know we may bring it back and return it but we will then buy more stuff than we returned. Other options? Hire me! Chances are you have too many articles of clothing in your wardrobe and you are not wearing it all. You are running out of time, money and space to store it all. We will go through it together and cleanse your closet of the excess. You will want to keep this streamlined version and it will help you to stop buying more. You just need to fill your time with something else. Maybe go to a bar instead and start drinking? I AM JOKING.
The Mail Whore
A subset of the shopaholic. You know who you are. You say you are “not really a shopper” because you don’t go shopping in brick and mortar stores. This doesn’t mean you’re not buying stuff. You are addicted to catalogues and online shopping. The vision of the UPS truck to you is like the ice cream truck to a 5-year-old. You looooove to get a package. It makes your day to come home and see that brown box just waiting to be opened like a present. The faster the shipping the better. You have your credit card number AND expiration date AND vcode memorized to make for a swifter checkout, that is if the website doesn’t already have it on file for you. Zappos and Amazon.com are your bread and butter. QVC and HSN? You are all over them like tweens on Justin Beiber.
The Mail Whore’s Solution
Unplug and unsubscribe. I know you are getting hundreds of emails direct to your inbox a week from stores wooing you in. “Free shipping!” “3 Hour sale!” “Exclusive markdowns for cardholders!” And the very specific “Private Insider Preview Sale” that makes you feel like a special member of an exclusive club. But this club wants your money. Again, do you need it? Great! Can you afford it? Order away! If not close that webpage on your full virtual shopping cart. Force yourself to go out to an actual store where you can try the item on, touch it, see if you like it. See if you really want it. Find something else to subscribe to via email – my blog? I know, shameless plug on my part. Read that catalogue that comes in the mail and then dump it straight into recycling.
The Buy Now Wear Now Shopper
Yes you are the most normal of the bunch. Congratulations. You usually use cash. If you charge it you pay it off at the end of the month. Shopping for you is just something else you do. You are generally ambivalent about it. If you need something specific you go out to the store and buy that item. But here is your problem. The fashion industry does not function on your schedule. In fact it is quite opposite. In order to account for the time it takes to design, create, manufacture and distribute the clothes the industry is always working ahead of the current season. Right now buyers that work for stores are busy ordering fall and winter deliveries, they have been for a while. The shipments of these items will come into your local store at the end of July and August. So if you decide in late July that “Wow, it is really hot, I could really use a pair of new white shorts,” most stores will either not have your size or be out of white shorts completely. And they are not getting any more in. Into August they will start putting out jeans and sweaters. Even if it is 99 degrees outside. So you essentially have missed this boat and your ambivalence about shopping turns to annoyance.
The buy now wear now shopper’s solution.
Even though it is out of your realm to do so try to shop proactively, not reactively. Stay one step ahead of the seasons by making and keeping up a list of items you need. If you find you are missing something for this season and can’t find it out in the stores write it down. When you pack up your summer items and store them for the winter take that list out and keep it out. When February rolls around and the stores start stocking bathing suits and shorts for what is known as resort/Spring 1 season you will be prepared. You can start now for winter by looking through your items and cleaning out. If your basics are worn out, black leggings, long sleeve t’s, write that down so you can start in August when the best selection is available.
I’ll be honest. I can’t relate to you at all. You call yourself a minimalist. But really you hate shopping. For you it is a necessary evil. Like a Navy Seal you want to get in, get the job done, get out and don’t talk about it. Even if you desperately need something you will talk yourself out of it just to avoid the hassle of going into a store. You need to attend a black tie function? Wearing all black does not count as okay but you will tell yourself it does. Socks have holes? That’s okay you can just layer another pair over them. The people, the crowds, the time, the money, it all just annoys you. And just like Murphy’s law the worst of experiences happen to you when out shopping.
My husband falls into this category.The mere thought of going shopping makes him want to break out into hives. He attempted the other day to go out and buy a flat screen tv. Something simple. He first tried our local big discount store. And he took the kids. Two big mistakes. After cursing through the parking lot he found the electronics section and picked one out. The salesman said he had to check the back of the store. My husband said it took him 20 minutes which, with 2 children and a man who hates shopping, feels like 4 days. He didn’t have that tv left in stock. My husband was so annoyed he didn’t ask to check any others he just left. But the kids pleaded for a movie. Which he tried to buy through self checkout. Another big rookie mistake. It wouldn’t scan. Someone had to come over and help. He came home very angry. Determined to buy a tv that day he went out again, alone this time, to another large popular store. The store had 3 tvs in stock total. Three. Like three single tv sets. And the teenage salesperson was not helpful. He was dribbling a basketball. In the electronics aisle. He called me while leaving the store and sounded very much like Michael Douglas in the Falling Down movie. He drove straight to one of the big name electronic stores and like the Navy Seals he was in and out.
The Avoider’s Solution
Somethings are just better left to the experts. If you have to go shopping call ahead. Make sure the store has what you need. Have the sales people have it ready for you. This is where the smaller local shops are a better choice because they make it their job to make it an easy pleasurable experience for you. You can also hire me! I can bring it to you. Together we can discuss your budget and your needs. I will bring the items to your home or your work, you can try them on (I know still an effort for you avoiders), and I will return what you don’t want. You can continue to avoid the hassle of shopping.