Saturday, July 7, 2012

New anti-shopping rule: try to avoid stores when you feel lousy (or just got any injections)

Have you ever found yourself feeling truly awful and also found yourself in a store at the same time? What happened?

For me, nothing good was what happened. About two years ago I had hiked up to Baltimore from DC for a doctor's appointment. I took two trains, a taxi, and a walk in the rain to get to the office of an orthopedic surgeon who was an expert in an "unusual" shoulder problem I'd been diagnosed with a while earlier.

In the ten minute visit I got told there wasn't much they could do except stick a really, *really* long, really large needle in my shoulder and squirt in some cortisone. I would feel fantastic afterwards!

Sure. The "afterwards" is really, you know, the next day. In the meantime your arm is pretty much useless.

I naturally brought a ton of stuff with me on this five hour round-trip adventure and suddenly found that I couldn't really carry it anymore. I stopped in Macy's to purchase a small rolling bag to help me haul my belongings home.

I left with a $150 Tommy Hilfiger, top-of-the-line roller bag. Because I felt lousy.

Sure, it got my stuff home (why didn't I just bring less stuff?!). But a few weeks later I realized I had a bag that was actually much smaller than was useful and was seriously ugly. Oh, and I already owned a comparable bag.

Lesson learned: avoid stores when feeling lousy. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, it's all the same in this situation. When we feel lousy we're more likely to look for the first thing that will make us comfortable, and then our wallets and closets become the victims. Totally not worth it.  Has this ever happened to you?

The Reckoning

Item 131: One seriously ugly roller bag
Cost: $150
Fate: the thrift shop 
Total money wasted on junk: $1412.00


  1. I think there are a lot of these floating around. I found a rolling office bag on craigslist for $10 not too long before being offered a travel job which pretty much required one. Someone will be happy to find this at the thrift store. =)

  2. I think shopping as anesthesia is a pretty common thing...

  3. I think the item I buy most when upset is food. I rationalize it as deserving donuts or cookies or french fries. I know most find it bad to use food as a coping mechanism, but for me, it's sometimes the only time I lose rigidity.

    Otherwise, when it comes to actual non-food shopping, I tend to ONLY do it when in a GOOD mood. I can't shop when in a bad mood because I get way too cynical and complain about all the marketing and attempts to get me to use my precious money. It's only when I feel pretty elated that I will allow myself to buy anything.

    It's interesting how emotions often dictate our pocketbook!

  4. Funny my resolve breaks too when I'm feeling lousy but I never made the connection before. Doh.

  5. I absolutely hate needles of any kind. It has to be an extreme emergency with no other options if a needle is going through my skin.

    I have definitely shopped and purchased things because I felt lousy. I have gone to a store because I felt sad and depressed, only to leave the store feeling worse, even if I didn't buy anything. It's crazy why we do things sometimes!

    *Did you notice in the header? You have "avoid" spelled wrong- no one else mentioned it :)

    1. oops, no I didn't! Thanks for catching that!

  6. I have definitely bought things to perk me up, make me feel better, make me happier, whatever. Usually makes me feel lousy later when I realize what a crap purchase it was.

    I am a paper crafter and when I don't have time to craft I start to buy craft items! Does that make sense?! No! I don't have time to use what I have so why do I buy more?!! Pffft! I'm also terrible on "impulse buys" when I do go craft shopping. I go in for one thing and leave with five (or more).

    I once mentioned this to a therapist. I told him that after I left his office I had to go to the hobby store for black construction paper for a fundraiser at work. All I needed was that but I knew I wouldn't buy just that; I'd get other stuff. He looked at me for awhile and replied, "Well, that's just dumb, only buy the paper and get out." Isn't that akin to telling an alcoholic, "yeah, well, just don't drink." That was the last time I saw him. I could tell myself it was dumb for free without missing time off work.


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