I'm still chuckling over the flip flop frenzy from last month's trip to Boise. So I'm highly disappointed to know I'll miss $2.00 Tank Top Day today. But I've been felled by the flu (swine or otherwise), and will miss the antics.
I like typing the words "flip flop".
Being in a store surrounded by a shopping frenzy was hard. Maybe similar to the way they describe the smell of blood to a vampire in Twilight. Don't lecture me, I held out forever, then read all four books in a week. Good character development, horrible writing- except for the description of how shopping, I mean blood… smells to a vampire.
The madness that happened at Dollar Flip Flop day is in my history, and strongly rooted in my DNA, which is why I need intensive therapy and possibly inpatient therapy or maybe to be heavily medicated.
These types of excursions are legendary in our clan. Up early, at the door, waiting for the sale. Pre-blog, I would have been right on board. It goes way back to the days when my mother and my aunts would go "junking", which is an alternative term for "garage-sale-ing". I hate garage sales. Check that, I hate to have them, I really love to GO to them. But they are dangerous for people like my family. Somehow we talk ourselves into the fact that yes, I really do need another set of ugly Corning Nesting Bowls for a dollar.
One of the more legendary early morning trips was to a store called Tuesday Morning. I was there early and shoved up against the heavy metal door. When it went up I sprinted under, not conscious of the fact that if it malfunctioned, it would crash down and cut me in half. I'd seen some cute Curious George Barbie Dolls in their flier and I was gonna get me some. They had four on the shelf and I swooped them into my cart. As I swaggered around with my loot some woman came up to me and had the gall to say, “do you really need all those.” Why yes, because I’m an aholic-shopper.
And I'm blaming my family. Here is the 3rd generation shopper with the flip flop take for my mom, daughter, boyfriend's daughters, and my sister. DNA folks, it might be what takes me down…
In the realm of shop-a-holics- (I know it isn't really spelled that way, but I like breaking it into manageable pieces), there is a concept called "PRODUCT". Face "product", hair "product", body "product", you get the picture. Product is something terribly dangerous because it can seem so innocuous. Just a little spending here and there adds up quickly. Here is a picture of SOME of the product currently in my bathroom:
These are just the hair and face products once I get out of the shower. Below are the shower items.
And a few more…
Face cream as a “product” is a topic that divides entire families. We are lead to believe that the more expensive "product" we use, the more likely we are to avoid looking like Mickey Rourke. But there are also faithful believers that Dove makes a face cream as good as Crème de La Mer. If you don’t know what that is, you are not a product junkie.
Years ago, when husband #2 and I were first married he was going on a business trip to New York City. I had read about Crème de La Mer, I had dreamed about Crème de La Mer, and now I wanted some. It was new enough that it wasn't available in my relatively small city, so I sent him to Bloomingdales to GET ME SOME. It was probably a good thing we were newlyweds because I’m sure when he saw the $125.00 price tag he almost dropped dead right then and there in that sumptuous store. He made the slightest snarky comment upon return, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to GET ME SOME. Since then I’ve vacillated back and forth, back and forth about whether the pricey stuff works. Right now I’m using ROC, which is substantially less expensive and can be bought in a 2 pack at Costco for a lot less than $125.00. I believe vanity plays a big part in the great face cream debate. Face it, if you are spending that kind of money, somehow it just makes us feel less wrinkly.
One thing I've realized over the course of the past two 1/2 months is that I used to shop and buy things I merely liked instead love LOVED. If I saw something cool and wanted it, I'd buy it. Since entering the no shopping zone for clothes, shoes, handbags and everything else on the rules list, I've developed a much more discriminating taste. Or I'm in a kind of denial that runs really deep.
My birthday is coming up and I'm anticipating at least one gift card from my mom. She is taking pity on me and giving me something that will allow me to shop guilt free. It won't be much, and already I'm staging a kind of assault on the mall that would make a Army General proud. I've got coupons to DSW for $10.00 and am daydreaming about finding a shoe on sale there for $10.99 and running gleefully from the store with my package. I may have cracked because I'm spending an inordinate amount of time doing simple math-
"If mom gives me $100.00, and DSW has a big sale buy one get one free, how many new shoes can I buy next Monday?"
"If mom gives me $125.00 gift card to Nordstrom, can I afford to replace the jeans I ruined last week painting at a girlfriends house, one of only 3 pairs of jeans left that I love?"
"If a woman stops shopping for 75 days, will her head explode into a million pieces?"
Those are the thoughts running through my head. Since I was an English major and abhor math, there is something infinitely wrong. I think I have a fever.
I'm feeling a bit better today, that's what happens when life sucks, eventually the sun comes out and things look up. At least for people like me. It will take maybe days or weeks, but things will sort themselves out, they always do.
So last night, instead of thinking about unemployment I started musing more on our Vegas trip and I remembered a thought I had at the Charleston Street mall. I kept wondering if the fact that I was sick was part of my UN-enthusiasm for shopping or if I'd really lost my edge for shopping gluttony. There were sales everywhere, and as I said last week in my post, people were nuts. But is it a good deal if you don't need it? Is crazy shopping an epidemic, like the swine flu?
I swear I felt a herd mentality in that outdoor mall. Kind of like when you eat too fast and swallow things whole, but these people were swallowing shopping whole.
DON'T BE LEFT OUT LIKE AN IDIOT, GET ON BOARD AND SHOP, SHOP, SHOP.
Shouldn't there be more thoughtful consideration to life, instead of rushing though it like herded cattle?
Our trip to Vegas continues to provide me with a wealth of thought provoking topics. When I went through our pictures, I found these two:
I especially like how my daughter (Emily) pretends not to look at them in the first picture, then mocks them in the next one. She was raised right. But really, look at these guys. They are commiserating in the middle of a walkway and holding a zillion bags while their wives are off buying more bounty and blowing their kids college funds.
This just isn't a sight we've seen in a while. And I'm wondering how that conversation went.
"honey, I want to go shopping at a gigantic mall in Las Vegas and spend thousands of dollars"
Saturday was our last day in Vegas, so we went to the pool and then- surprise— shopping!!
We hit an outlet mall on Charleston Street. Turns out we should have spent the entire time there because they had the best deals, plus every single person in the world was shopping there. It was crowded and when I yelled "WE'RE IN A RECESSION PEOPLE, WHY ARE YOU SPENDING MONEY??" at the top of my lungs, no one blinked an eye, they just kept handing over their credit cards.
When we went into the Coach store, I had an actual coronary. It was packed, and not with window shoppers. Here is a picture of the check out line-
And another picture of the crowd in the store…
They threw me out of the store for taking pictures, but were very nice about it.
Where did all these people come from? Are they pretending not to shop at home and going loco when they hit Vegas, returning home to hide packages from friends and neighbors? According to the popular media, no one is shopping and the economy as we know it has shriveled up and died. Did someone suddenly discover a wealth of recently printed cash or did I miss the latest stimulus check sent to my house? Whatever it was, these folks were out in buying force. Part of it might have been these signs scattered throughout every store:
Some of the sales went up to 90% off. Whatever it was, it was working because I've never seen anything like it. A Frenzy. Crazed. Wild. Out of Control. Are we working our way out of the recession? I'm not helping because I'm on my 48th DAY WITHOUT SHOPPING. Feels kind of good, kind of bad. Perhaps what a sadomasochist feels like when using nipple clamps, but I'm only guessing.
My daughter and I arrived in Vegas at 9:30am and went straight to our hotel. After quickly checking in we strolled down to Fashion Show Mall. If you haven't been there it is an enormous collection of stores- among which are many of my favorites. We don't have a Zara in my town, and last year I found an amazing maxi dress there, so I was looking forward to going- but mixed with some trepidation.
Then a miracle happened. Because I'm carefully considering each purchase instead of launching headlong into buying, buying, buying, buying, buying…most things just don't intrigue me anymore. The careful consideration seems to have made my my purchase trigger finger much less triggery. Is that a word?
And something funky weird is happening. I'm shopping and shopping and shopping and I'm really not finding that much I really want to buy. The world is ending. It is strange and unfamiliar territory and I may have dropped straight into The Twilight Zone.
My birthday is coming up so in a month so I know I'll have an opportunity to get something and that is keeping me on the hunt, but this disaffection with shopping is scaring me. However my daughter seems to be doing fine.
The count for today:
1 prom dress
1 pair jeans
2 summer dresses
1 very cool black tshirt
Earrings and a necklace
The real hell was that we spent 8 HOURS STRAIGHT SHOPPING. Something that in the past I would have enjoyed with wonder and glee. The saving grace was the 8 hours I spent with my beautiful girl all to myself.
Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up from the nightmare with a renewed sense of commitment to acquisition. If not, someone better call a medic, because I'm sick and might not recover.
It used to be that when I was blue or sad or bored or busy or neutral, I would shop. Now I find myself struggling to find replacement activities to fill in the void of not shopping. Costco is my new brand of heroin.
I can go to Costco and browse for hours on the pretense that I'm there buying "food". I don't cheat and actually buy the banned items, but I do look at them longingly and sometimes even pick up a contraband purse or pair of jeans and stroke them with the same tenderness you might afford a brand new baby. I'm sick and I know it.
While waiting for a friend to spend $200.00 on getting her hair colored, (proudly I color my own for about $6.00), I picked up an old copy of Newsweek and found an article entitled "Inside the Shopping Brain", you can find it HERE. I was fascinted because I didn't know I had two brains, one that shopped and one that didn't. That explains a lot. All this time I've been thinking that I was totally responsible for the buying binges, shopping extravaganzas and pitiful savings efforts. But no, I have two brains and one of them is evil. Excellent.
The article explains that the "little brain region called the insula" is responsible for my shopaholic-ness. And that paying cash makes me spend less than paying by credit card. Hell I didn't need a scientist to tell me that. If I have to part with the little green guys it is always much more painful than whipping out the Amex and ignoring the fact that in reality the dollars add up. I am one of the few people I know who really do charge things for the miles, and pay off the balance every month. Yes, just like the guys who buy Playboy for the insightful writing.
Damn insula. Can I get mine cut out?