Shopaholic…… in RL

Imagine this:

Me, on the Queen street car. It’s 4pm. It’s muggy. I’m sweating and I have plastic from two of my EIGHT shopping bags stuck to my leg. I’m surrounded by shopping bags. So much so, that they start to spill over and the woman next to me gets up, gives me a dirty and rolls her eyes.

I have just gone on an absolute shopping bender and the guilt is agonizing.

Swipe. New shirt. Swipe. New blazer. Swipe. Summer dress. Swipe. Sandals. Swipe. Don’t-even-know-what-I’m-buying-because-I’m-not-even-trying-things-on-anymore!

By the end, I’m just grabbing and swiping, grabbing and swiping. GRABBING AND SWIPING! – WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!

I could not be stopped until literally I was afraid I had maxed out my credit card and I would be declined at the till.

Who is this person!?!?!? Not Shannon Simmons. This is a crazy person….. is it Sunday?

I finally find my phone in the bottom of my purse and manage to send four big shopping bags cascading to the streetcar floor. More dirty looks.

Must call mom.

This has never happened to me before. Yes, of course there have been shopping sprees over the years, back to school clothes, Barter Babe launch party and whatnot, but never that trance-like state of mind where“more more more” is a mantra. I’ve never been a desperate shopper, until now.

It all started after a Barter Babe meeting downtown. I was trying to coordinate travel plans to get home for my sister’s wedding brunch, then back to the city to hopefully see my friends I never see anymore for an hour. Have to type up those notes, have to tweet something – anything. Have to go to the gym, summer is coming. Have to answer those 28, no 29, no 30 emails racking up in my inbox. Have to do laundry, should get groceries, have to complete that barter, have to write that article, get birthday present, see my friend’s baby, barter, barter, barter, get to northern Toronto – how can I do all of this? How can I cope? How can I keep my head above water?

I felt the anxiety bubbling up inside me like boiling water. Tears welled up in my throat.

At this time, I happened to be walking by the Eaton Centre and it started to rain – FML. I popped into the mall to seek solace from the rain and told myself I would grab a tea and chill out for a minute. Collect my thoughts. Good intentions.

I didn’t make it past Towne Shoes before my first purchase had occurred. (Note, tea was never bought).

A rush of pleasure that I’ve never experienced while shopping occurred. I felt a wave of calm. A sense of accomplishment. The thrill of rebellion.

Shopping is not allowed. I have no extra cash flow, and yet some part of me already knew that I was about to blow some serious money.

Oh the magic of credit cards. It feels like you’re stealing when you know you don’t have any money to put on that card when you get home. What a rush of dopamine. What a guilty pleasure and mostly, what a distraction from my all-encompassing, all-consuming demanding schedule.

Shopping was like a mute button. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. White noise that didn’t stop life, but drown out the constant to-do list running through my head. Sweet. Sweet shopping serenity. Buzzzzzzzz.

This must be what Rebecca Bloomwood in Shopaholic felt like. It’s a book which I couldn’t even finish because I absolutely did not relate to her as a main character. I kept reading and being like “hey dumbass….. stop spending money!”

I understand more now. I was on a shopping binge and I was totally out of control. This project brings out the best and worst of me. lol

$600 later… I’m in tears on the streetcar.

Oh. Holy. Crap. What have I done?

Call my friend Karissa, she tells me not to worry. I can return everything – it’s no problem! I absolutely agree with her. I solemnly promise to return all the new goodies… except the sandals. Fresh start.

Great plan.

I’m sorry to report that nothing has been returned. In fact, I wore most of my new summer clothes already in the first few days since my binge. “Subconsciously” claiming them as un-returnable.

It felt to good to have new clothes. Comments like “nice shirt” and “cute shoes” made be blush “oh… these old things?”  Please. *giggles*

It’s the first time in a long time I’ve actually felt proud about what I was wearing and how I looked since this project began. I’m usually wearing old ratty clothes, going too long without a hair dye and generally feeling less-than attractive. It takes its toll. It all sounds very shallow, but there’s something about feeling proud of what you’re wearing that’s psychologically important for me – maybe every woman. Maybe everyone.

So here I am. More credit card debt to pay off with the line of credit that I’m treating like a checking account.

Eventually, I’ll get it together. The problem? I literally do not have enough money to live off and I’m rebelling by binging.

What did I learn?

1. Don’t have a meltdown within a 1km proximity of a mall.

2. Bring an umbrella even if it’s sunny

3. I can’t stress enough. Give yourself enough spending money each week for you to actually enjoy and not feel deprived all the time. When you feel deprived of fun money, you do things like this.

Until Next Time….

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3 Responses to Shopaholic…… in RL

  1. Stephanie says:

    Oh yes, shopping while having no money is the best form of therapy! I’ve done it numerous times in the past few years, mostly online but it’s the same thing, and online purchases can’t always be returned (though I don’t buy things with any thought of returning them…) There’s always that, “I have a few dollars left on my credit card” or the “I can get out of overdraft next month” that I tell myself, and then I’m right back where I started.

    *hugs* I feel ya.

  2. Erin says:

    I love how honest you are. And I also hated those Shopaholic books, though I love shopping…with my spending money. Lol.

    The baby will forgive you. And her mom’s not offended either. :)

  3. I am reading about this project for the first time and am amazed. I am not sure that there is anything that compares in the west.
    Oh yes, I live and spend $ in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    I am in the planning stages of opening a new business.


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