I only classify myself as ‘recovering’ because at least now I do have certain permanent restraints that prevent me from indulging in a manic bout of consumer binging and checkout euphoria! The most permanent of these restraints is the fact that I traded in my single card and opted for the bundle of joy and the man of my dreams, therefore the selfish impulse to spend half of my daily wages on Italian leather and foreign couture garments and ravishing accessories has been replaced with rationing and spending more wisely. Nevertheless, I would admit that my shopping cravings have not necessarily subsided but now there is just more people to shop for… can I hear a whoop whoop up in here!!!! My fellow shopaholics, you would agree with me that there is definitely less the guilt and twice the fun when you are shopping for someone other than yourself…can I hear an AMEN!
Rewind some eight years ago, nothing was holding me back. I was a young professional living my big apple dream and of course dreams come with the pleasure of getting what you want and when you want it! At the time, my life equation was:
A good paying job + minimum expenses + the Big Apple + minimum obligations + time = Shopping Nirvana!
The ideal weekend for me included a well planned out train route schedule to visit my dear friends: 34TH street, SoHo and 5th Avenue. They were always sooooo good to me!
Now don’t get me wrong, I never completely surrendered my soul to shopping (that would have meant a visit to the professionals and shock therapy for a cure). However, I would like to classify myself as a bargain shopaholic – yes there are different types of shopaholic and I will school you in just a minute:
- The Bargain Shopaholic usually exercises wise shopping practices – which means monthly bills tramp shopping sprees and credit cards are sworn enemies!!! They never purchase brand names at original price and always look for opportunities to get the most out of a buck! Possible pitfalls with the bargain shopaholic – shopping drive is fuelled by bargains, deals and sales so they usually get blind sighted by incredible discounts and the illusion of saving and end up buying things they do not actually need.
- The Brand Name Shopaholic cultivates a lifetime relationship with the Louis, Guccis, Burberrys, Juicys, Dolces, Manolos, and Jimmy Chos just to mention a few. They dibble dabble with the royalties of brand names, however in most cases at a very high price. Nothing brand name is not worth their time or efforts. For the Brand Name shopaholic ‘name’ definitely tramps price tag…what? Price tag….what is that…very foreign concept to them. Possible pitfalls is straight bankruptcy, especially if their wallets do not necessary speak the brand name language – ouch!
- Credit Shopaholic (Wanted by Derek Smith, the debt collector) lives for the plastic!!! Their favorite vocabulary tends to be “Charge it” and their sworn enemy no doubt is the debt collector (Derek Smith)…you know, that most annoying debt collector who is like a bad habit you just cannot seem to shake. Those who have watched the movie ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ need I say more! Possible pitfall - lifelong relationship with Derek Smith and credit hell!
- Online shopaholic (covert shopping) hides behind a computer, armed with a credit card and time on their hands. They do their ‘bad’ deeds on the web and pretend nothing happened. However, within 3 to 5 business days, the fruit of their relentless labor is harvested and left on their door stoop. For them instant gratification is gibberish and so is customer to sales person contact. Possible pitfall – online shopaholics run the risk of setting up a personal makeshift mailing/delivery services on the side due to the many merchandise they have had to return because they did not look like what they did on the virtual showroom.
Some tell-tale signs that you are indeed a shopaholic:
- Enjoy shopping by yourself – I am what they call a lone shopper. I do most of my best thinking and damage when I am shopping by myself. I do not need the disapproving looks from family or the impatient look from the significant other or the annoying whining from my seed or the uuhhs and aahhhs from girlfriends…just the peace and quiet and the inner hummings of me, myself and I!
- Hide your shop of the day – Shopping does come with its guilt, so I was not shocked when I started hiding my shopping bags deep in my closet and away from my roommate in the NYC, (who mind you was also a shopping addict but always found a way to chastise me for shopping…sheesh go figure! You know yourself!) I mention my NYC days because this was the beginning of my covert operation; unfortunately it’s a habit I just can not seem to shake. Sigh!
- Justify shopping sprees – I work hard…so a little shopping here and there to reward me is not so bad…is it? Popular justification phrases that are near and dear to my heart are, ‘Life is short, we might as well enjoy it, or I haven’t bought anything for myself in months, or its on sale for crying out loud! Or I just plain need it!
- Plan shopping trips in advance – One thing I am very thankful for, (and this definitely has a lot to do with my discipline and wise shopping practices and I say this with much dignity with my chin held high) is that I am not an impulse shopper. Most of my shopping trips are planned. Everything needs to be in place and well aligned. Shopping for me is definitely pre-meditated. I need time to shop and nowadays time is a very sparse commodity in my books with all my many obligations. As such planning is always key – all elements need to be well lined up in order for me to enjoy a fulfilling shopping experience.
- Sale frenzy – The word sales has never looked so good until I see it on my favorite store ad! My mind starts working like clockwork trying to figure out if I can squeeze in a shopping bout before the sales end.
My move from the big apple and changes in my life have forced some changes in my shopping habits. I am very proud to say that I am now the Improvising Queen and I sure do not apologize for that! Its all about taking what is old, adding a pinch of new and personal style and coming up with an ensemble that screams fashion forward.
Present time life equation now reads:
Paying job + Increasing obligations + Monthly Bills + Responsibility + Family+ Increasing expenses + Borrowed time = Improvising!
Hello, my name is AJ…..and I am all about improvising!