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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The "new" window shopping

Ladies, this one's for you (and for any metrosexual, in-touch-with-my-female-side guy who loves to shop).  Take a moment and think about what shopping means to you.  And I (that would be EN) don't mean shopping for dental floss or apples...but real shopping.  You know, the kind of shopping that you do ... just because. I get tingly just thinking about it.

But, given that our family has embraced a life of frugality, shopping "just because" is not something that can be done too often. (note that I did not say "never").  So, given that this new way of life has put a damper on my shopping sprees, I thought that it would be wise to consider exactly why shopping gives me such a thrill - in order to see if I could get this thrill some other way (get your minds out the gutter people...this is about shopping). 

So, I sat in a meditative pose (thank you yoga), closed my eyes, and imagined myself in my favorite shop.  I saw myself sweeping through the aisles, running my hands across racks and racks of garments, feeling the silks, wools and cottons ... and occasional polyester blends.  My eyes took in the almost incomprehensible array of colours and my nose inhaled the smell of newness which surrounded me (and the garlic breath of the person next to me).  I saw myself lifting the perfect black dress off the rack and holding it up against my body - perfect.  I found a white button-down blouse that was calling my name...even though I hate to wear blouses.  Skinny jeans which were the perfect shade of jean and a scarf that matched absolutely nothing in my wardrobe, also found their way into my capable arms.  And then, I saw myself gliding to the shoe section.  I caught my breath as I took in the rows and rows of pedal works of art.  High heels, wedges and sandals - oh my!  One pair more glorious than the next, and as I tried each one on I felt as though I had been tranformed into post-glass slipper Cinderella.  I allowed myself to take in this scene for a little while longer and then roused myself from this shopping trance.  Opening my eyes, stretching my legs and looking around I felt exhilirated !  Fulfilled, refreshed, happy.  But why?  you may ask.  How could simply imagining yourself shopping be that positive an experience?

I was brought back to memories of a time when I was a poor full-time student (as opposed to now, when I am a somewhat better off full-time student).  Back then, shopping "just because" was simply not an option.  Not one to ever want to rack up credit card debts, I rarely shopped for pleasure.  What I did do though was spend hours and hours (hey, it was better than studying) going through catalogues that would come in the mail (Victoria's Secret, J. Crew, Eaton's (sigh...remember Eaton's?) and pretend shop.  Come on....I can't be the only loser  young penniless lady to have done this.  I would carefully give the catalogue a first pass, then go through it a second time and circle all the items I would order if money was not an option.  Then, I would quickly calculate what the total would be (honing up my math skills), experience a few heart palpitations, and proceed to eliminate items from my "cart".  Then, with only a few choice items left, I would  convince myself that a) the item would never look as good on me as it did on the model (did you know that Victoria's Secret models are visitors from another planet!), b) that it would stretch or c) that it would require.... horrors...IRONING!  I got pretty creative coming up with reasons why I didn't want said item, and before I knew it, my pretend cart was empty and my pretend shopping excursion actually left me feeling pretty satisfied.

This really isn't that strange, is it?  I mean, we've all gone window shopping.  The malls are full of people trolling the stores, looking around, maybe trying things on, but not actually buying anything.  There is obviously some appeal and psychological benefit to doing this or it wouldn't be so common.  Maybe it's the joy of seeing pretty things, being presented with endless possibilities, being witness to the creative talents of designers and shoe makers. My pretend catalogue shopping achieved pretty much the same thing - except better, because I didn't even have to get dressed to reap the benefits.

These days of greener living, I no longer get catalogues in the mail.  No worries though.  Now I conduct my pretend shopping online.  I have recently discovered a number of "exclusive" discount shopping sites.  (The fact that they're exclusive gives them an added appeal, but in reality the only thing you have to do to be included is sign up with your email address.)  Now, I can browse the sites, add things to my virtual shopping cart and then empty it before checking out.  The nice thing is that in most of these sites...if you don't purchase your item within 15 minutes of adding it to your cart, it gets removed for you!  And, added bonus, new arrivals are entered into the virtual store every day.  What fun!

In case you want to engage in some pretend shopping of your own, or if you're tired of dealing with crowds during your traditional window shopping are a few of my favorite sites.

Happy pretend shopping :)
Economia Nia

1 comment:

  1. Sigh. I love shopping of any kind...On-line, off-line...imaginary, real, whatever...I am there. Even the mundane task of Jean-Coutu shopping, brings so many possibilities; make-up, jewelry, nail polish...isn't it exciting, doing your nails, for the very first time, with new nail polish! Shopping provides an emotional high, but if you overdo it, as I have on occasion, ok, many occasions, especially when I worked downtown, such guilt. So, yes, I too, have filled up my in-baskets, from websites, with wish filled items. To go back to it, even a couple of hours later, and they are all gone, and the best part... not even remembering what I had put in there... :)