For anybody with a shopping problem, sales are the devil. As if navigating the shops at normal times wasn’t hard enough, marketing geniuses have come up with the idea of “sales” and “bargains” no normal woman can pass on. What most of us probably don’t even realise is how much we are really manipulated by marketing and how it taps into our desires and fears (desire to be beautiful and young, fear of missing out by not having the latest). What most of us do know though is that we often fall prey to buying things on sale we don’t need, wouldn’t have bought at full price or even like that much after all. If you are one of those people who targets the sales with military precision to buy what you would have needed anyway and come away laughing for having paid a fraction of the original costs, congratulations. But I have to be particularly careful if there is a sale going as it simply seems to make a bad situation worse.
One of the reasons I have been toying with the idea of a six months shopping break is my memory of the summer sales two years ago where I went hog wild and bought a half ton of stuff. When the sales started here, about two or three weeks ago, I felt myself going back to that same old place: despite not needing anything, nothing at all, and still owning a number of items that have not yet had a spin around town, the first thing I did was go into Mango on day one of the sale and buy five items: one dress, one playsuit, one top, one belt and one necklace. This was after long and painful deliberation and hanging back about twenty other items that I really, really wanted. I don’t really understand how anyone can have so much hunger for so many new clothes all the time, but there you go. I actually quite like what I bought, so I don’t have huge regrets, but I don’t feel this shopping spree offered any kind of satisfaction. It just fuelled the want for more, and because I wasn’t quite sure that I really had gotten “the best of the best” the Mango sale had to offer, I went back a couple of days later and bought five tops (just FYI, I still don’t think I’ve gotten the best of it). I then went on to Zara, the other shop of doom for my wallet, and bought another necklace and a jacket plus a bag full of stuff for the other half.
After all of that, I felt panicky and decided that I needed to stop for a while. On Thursday morning my colleague told me that the sale in another favourite of mine, Monsoon, had started. Everything at half price. I started feeling panic and terror about all the things that I would be missing out on that would make my wardrobe and life so much better. I know this is pathetic but bear with me.
I’m not pretending that the thought of the Monsoon sale hadn’t crossed my mind before I started talking about a six months shopping break two weeks ago. I knew all along it was going to come for me and shatter my good intentions like a sledge hammer! So, in my head, I had given myself a bit of a wildcard. To get something in the Monsoon sale, and then go back on a shopping break.
When I went to shop the sale, I dived straight in for a dress I had seen in March and not bought at full price. I also found another couple of dresses I had been eyeing up for a while, plus a lovely tan leather handbag and a couple of tops. I proceeded to try it all on. A few of the dresses didn’t fit. I actually felt relieved because that meant I didn’t have to buy them. As if I didn’t have a choice to say no, whether the dress fits or not! I decided to pass on the tan leather bag as I was carrying on the same day, have a guess, a tan leather bag. Yes they’re not the same, but then again, they’re both tan leather. Who knows the difference at the end of the day and what does that bag have to offer that the other one doesn’t? I passed. The dress I had bypassed in March was still nice but I figured that since I hadn’t needed it since March, I could probably live without it altogether. Another beautiful dress that took my fancy went back on the rack because I have something that really isn’t too far off in terms of cut and pattern. I tend to buy things that work over and over again in an attempt to “replace” items that are nearly worn out, without ever actually replacing anything. If you have 500 things to play with, they wear out damn slowly.
After an hour of retail frenzy I left the shop empty handed! Do I feel like I really missed out on something right now? Would my life be better if I had any of the things above? No! So, why can’t I make the right decision every time?