It wasn’t until a few years ago I realized I have a shopping problem. It started after my first sonic boom of a breakup, when I turned to buying shoes as a post-breakup remedy. I’ve never seen myself act so stereotypically female before–box after box of shoes piled up in my bedroom during the first few weeks of the breakup. I felt like a pathetic, poor man’s version of Carrie Bradshaw, clad in shoes of the Target and DSW variety. But it didn’t matter. I couldn’t get enough sole therapy.
Whore. Shoe whore, that is.
Fortunately, this type of extreme shopping didn’t progress any further down that dark, dangerous path. It was an uncharacteristic moment in time, buying the same category of item in bulk. It has, however, managed to manifest itself into a never-ending array of small retail items parading in and out of my life.
Like so many females, I am addicted to the shopper’s high. There, I said it. I admitted it. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? But it’s not my fault, guys. It’s how I was raised, with a super hip mom whose idea of a fabulous day with her girls was hitting the Gap, then the mall, then grabbing some frozen yogurt. (Sounds like heaven, right?) That’s the thing. It’s not like I’m addicted to the rich girl’s high. It’s the poor girl’s high: the Forever 21, Gap, weirdnonamewebsite high. If my default stores were a drug, I’d be smoking the filthiest form of crack cocaine while the girls who blow wads at Neiman Marcus would shoot up the purest heroine known to man, found only in the deepest crevices of the Amazon jungle.
That’s right. I’m a retail crackhead.
It’s the feeling of knowing something new and adorable is heading your way in a matter of days. That, later this week, you’ll come home from another tired, boring day of your 9 to 5, only to find–GASP–a package sitting on your doorstep. It’s that surge of electricity you feel when Retailmenot.com actually had a legitimate coupon code and you got an extra 20 percent off (if you had no idea that site existed until just now, you’re forever indebted to me). It’s getting the last one of something and exclaiming, “THAT’S RIGHT, BITCHES!” to no one. It’s spending the duration of time between ordering and waiting for it to arrive, where you plan every single outfit you could possibly wear with this new item. It’s knowing that, even if it doesn’t fit quite right, you will make it work.
It’s that godforsaken shopper’s high.
And yes, we know it’s fleeting. Yes, we know as soon as we wear our new piece, it will have lost its luster. That the only way to experience that high again is to buy more. But that’s the insanity behind it that fuels its fire–the fire of addiction.
There was a time I would arrive home during the work week to be welcomed by not one, but multiple packages containing bits and pieces I had ordered. I think the day I had around five packages was when I knew I needed to get it under control. The day I finally realized most of what I order online is almost always promptly returned to where it came from, I knew this blind ordering needed a lumbar puncture and induced coma STAT (sorry, been watching too much “House”). I came to grips with the fact that, as it is, I am in no position to bend my bank account over and make it take it. I needed groceries, not hi-lo dresses and eight different colors of skinny jeans. What was one, cute, throwaway top going to get me? An adorable Instagram picture to showcase over the weekend to prove that I do, in fact, go out and I can, in fact, look pretty cute when I do? Great. I’d rather have that money to order Thai food and save up for something really worthwhile, like more Thai food.
It was having this epiphany that broke the spell of my shopping addiction. I have since been able to think rationally about ordering clothes for the sake of ordering clothes (most of the time). But that’s not to say I don’t get all up in Amazon Prime on the daily, because why wouldn’t I order Windex and dry erase board sets from them? It’s cheaper and I don’t have to put on clothes and leave my house to retrieve said items.
Wow. I am our generation’s problem, aren’t I? Sorry not sorry.