I’ve pretended to be many things on this blog: a reader, a (psuedo) writer, a (psuedo) thinker, a loving wife and mother and friend. But the hard truth is, what I really am, lately, is a shopper. All I want to do is shop. For anything. My new habit was birthed from necessity (Christmas) but has morphed into a desire of which I am not proud. Why haven’t I posted in over a week? Online shopping, baby! When I sit down to the computer, it’s a heckuva lot easier to cut and paste my credit card number into a little box on the screen than to think up a clever and creative blog post. (Really. You should try it.) You’re shaking your head at me, my good and smart friend, and I am shaking my head at me, too. I know. I know.
Here’s the thing about shopping and me: I will go for long stretches of time in which I barely shop at all–just the bare minimum of socks for the kids and the like. But when December rolls around and the clock starts ticking, my financial floodgates open and all of the sudden, I’m all about Stuff. I don’t consider myself a huge Stuff person, but once you give yourself permission to zip that debit (credit??) card a few times, it becomes oh-so-easy to zip it again. And again.
A recent article about Black Friday explains my behavior. Apparently, researchers have found that Black Friday is always profitable, despite the lukewarm deals, because of a basic spending psychology. The article claims that once shoppers give themselves “permission” to buy even one small thing, something clicks in their brain and encourages them to buy more things–many more things, in fact, and usually things they would normally not allow themselves. But now that the “checkbook is open,” the shopper’s gonna get it while the gettin’s good. I am so shamefully guilty of this conduct, I need to see my bishop. (Bishop, are you there? I need to see you.) It’s kind of like eating junk food, which is another thing I have been doing in spades lately. But that’s another post. (Are you feeling fat this December? Come sit by me. I guarantee an immediate ego boost.)
Lest you should worry, my good and glorious faithfuls, I am not putting my family into financial crisis with all this shopping. It is Christmastime, after all, and Mom’s shopping is part of the whole kit and kaboodle. (Finally able to work in that awesome phrase. Score.) What you should worry about is the rapid retardation of my emotional maturity. Instead of reading books this month, I’ve been staring dumbly at a computer screen full of online treasures, agonizing over which item I’ll purchase when-I-have-the-money. Hours later, I still-don’t-have-the-money, so I shut it all down and go to bed. Intellectually redeeming? No. But fun. And easy. Mostly easy. I think Easy is the new Fun for midlifers.
My point? I’m beginning to think that the Home Shopping Network is on to something. Shame on me for rolling my eyes at it all these years. I mean really, who can resist? You sit on the couch and stare at barely attractive people (a bonus right there), listening to their mindless chatter about Cute Nice Things. It’s enough conversation to keep you company but requires no verbal effort on your part. (Makes me wonder why more men don’t watch.) You then hear ecstatic callers phone in and rave about the Cute Nice Things they bought, and if you’re not inclined to purchase yourself, you can simply experience that moment of glory with them via the boob tube. However, should you decide to buy some Cute Nice things for yourself, instant gratification is just a phone call away. You don’t even have to know how to use the internet, which is probably a good thing for most HSN viewers. All of this can be done while stuffing a bag of pita chips down your throat, which is more than I can say for online shopping. (Pita chips and keyboarding don’t mix; believe me, I’ve tried.)
Talk about easy. I think I’ll give it a try this afternoon instead of cleaning my house. Don’t you think my thirteen-year old daughter would like a Marie Osmond doll for Christmas?
More importantly: would you? Let me know. Because the checkbook is open.