Feed on

Shopping Amnesia

Once upon a time, I shopped for fun, need, and therapy. I shopped with friends and alone, to celebrate and self-medicate.

Then Simon came along and with him, certain restrictions on time and cash. A few years later, I began running and doing pilates, and further restrictions on shopping were put into place. Finally, last year two things happened: First, I was trying to rebuild savings after buying a car, hot water heater, and furnace in one year; Second, I was busier than ever due to my part-time work, my increasing volunteer work, and Simon’s increasing sports participation.

Suddenly, shopping was something I hardly ever did. And unlike riding a bike, it turns out you really can forget how. I’ve tried day-long ventures with long-ish lists of wants and needs, only to find myself overwhelmed and bag-less after two hours. I’ve gone out to buy a specific item and found it, only to then second-guess whether I really needed it and return home empty-handed.

The primary evidence for this is in my closet, where I’ve been making do without several things I said I needed months ago, and my bank account, where my shopping paralysis helped to restore quite a bit of our savings despite increased league fees and an expensive vacation. I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated high holy day dresses for five years straight, and this year I struggled to get holiday presents for everyone.

Now it’s gotten to the point where I feel a slight disconnect with my middle-class cohort. I go to Target, see all the nice and modestly priced home goods I could be sprucing up my tired looking house with, but fail to pull the trigger. I go in thinking “let’s shop!”, only to have my thoughts quickly turn to “eh, I’ve gone this long with it. I don’t need to spend the money.” My towels are a decade old, my colander came from my grandparents’ store 40-someodd years ago, and I’ve got pots with loose handles and only one fry pan I like.

I have declared 2015 as the year of the spruce. It’s time to get rid of the worn out pots and fraying and stained napkins, both of which are now 18 years old. We will probably not die in penury if I spring for a better hand-vac or replace the carpet tiles in the guest bedroom that won’t stay together. On the other hand, that colander still works just fine, as does my hand mirror, which is the re-purposed lid to a compact I bought back when I lived in Ann Arbor. And those decade-old towels are still fluffy and nice.

It’s interesting. Five years ago I worried my shopping habit would be hard to break; now I’m wondering if I’m capable of (or interested in) fully breaking my non-shopping one.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.