The Headspace of a Problem Shopper


I say “problem shopper” because I don’t like the connotation of “shopping addict”.  It makes me sound like I should be on Dr. Phil or in a 12 Step program.  And I have this thing under control.  I can stop anytime I want.  I just don’t want to. 

I have friends who, for reasons I will never understand, do not like to shop.  They don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to not purchase that amazing pair of shoes or fabulous bag or awesome jacket.  Or why it’s nearly impossible for me to get in and out of a store without buying something.  I am generally able to find at least one item in any cool store that I absolutely must have.  It’s a gift.  Another of my talents is the ability to rationalize any purchase that I make, no matter how irresponsible.  “I’ll wear this forever” or “You can never have too many ankle boots” or “It’s Tuesday”.  I am not the person to shop with if you’re looking for someone to be rational and tell you that you shouldn’t buy that Chloe Drew bag because it costs more than your rent.  Not only will I condone the purchase but I will co-sign the personal loan you’ll need to take out so you can have the bag and pay your rent.  Then I’ll suggest that we go shopping to celebrate.

That all being said I do realize that my propensity for shopping is making it difficult for me to attain other goals I have.  Like being debt free.  So I have been making an effort to be better about it.  I recently had to go to a nearby mall to pick up these flats that I ordered.  I had a game plan; get in and get out.  No swerving in to see what Zara has going on or popping in to Coach to check on folks there.  Walk straight to Aldo, get the shoes and go home.  But this mall (unfortunately? fortunately?) has a Nordstrom and it just so happens that through this mecca of pretty things is the quickest route to Aldo.  Mistake Number One.

Just stay focused, Jen.  This is my mantra as I enter.  I heart Nordstrom, you guys.  I mean, I really do.  They offer all my favorite labels and everyone is just so sweet and lovely.  I get past the bags and accessories.  Good job.  But I have to walk past shoes to get into the mall.  Here’s where things get tricky.  Because how long have I wanted a pair of white pumps?  Only since forever.  Let me just see if they have any.  Not to buy, of course! Just to see.  Okay there aren’t any that I’m crazy about but I’ve also been considering a pair of Charlotte Olympia kitty flats.  Those they do have.  Should I try them on? Just to see how they look? No! Leave now.

Okay, that was good.  Keep your eye on the goal, Jen, you’re doing great.  But then I pass the escalator to the second floor where all my favorites live.  Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Current Elliot, Philip Lim, Helmut Lang- the whole gang.  I wonder what’s going on up there.  What if there’s something up there so dope it will become my new favorite thing?  What if there’s an amazing sale?  What if…?  And before I even realize what I’m doing I’ve veered off course and am headed upstairs.  From that point on things become a happy blur.  An adorably gay sales boy immediately spots me for the weakling that I am and zeroes in.  Next thing I know I’m in a dressing room with a wall full of stuff and Justin is bringing me other options of denim and tops that will look “Ah-mazing on you, girl”.  I leave with what I think is a reasonable haul of items I love but certainly don’t need.  I feel mildly guilty but my ass did look great in those jeans.

So that’s how it goes for me and probably for countless other “problem shoppers” as well.  Tomorrow is a new day, right? Progress not perfection.  One day at a time.  Keep on keepin’ on.  And other sayings meant to make me feel better.  But I’ll wear that skirt forever.  And you can never have too many ankle boots.  And it’s Tuesday.