On Friday,  I had an early morning audition, and it happened to be right across from the mall.  I had been meaning to visit the Macy’s at that mall, because there was a handbag I had seen online that I was curious about, and I wanted to see it in person.  Not to buy it, mind you – I did realize that I JUST pared down my handbag collection like a week ago, and  I am still working on my debt and not supposed to be buying stuff, but I didn’t think it would hurt to just visit it.  (I’m sure you can see where this is going.)

I looked at the bag, and I liked it, but I resisted the urge to buy it right then and there, even though I really wanted it.  I put it down.  I walked away.  And then, like a shopaholic zombie in search of brains, I found myself wandering among the housewares, pining for a new set of towels.  Then I decided I should put the towels on hold, since a sale was going on, and who knew how long they would be there.  Then it seemed like a good idea to put the purse on hold too.  And then I walked out of the store into the mall, instead of out of one of the doors that led to where my car was parked.

I’ve always loved to window shop.  But if I’m honest, there isn’t too much “window” involved.  I almost always end up buying something.  And that day, my mood was all about wanting something new.  When I’m in that mood, a mall is a very dangerous place for me to be.

I drifted from one store to the next, trying on clothes, admiring household items, and smelling new perfumes.  And almost every store yielded something I really, really, REALLY wanted.  I am aware enough of my own behavior when I get like this to enforce some prevention methods, which for me means putting any items I am interested in on hold, and walking away for at least fifteen minutes till I feel less feverish.  That day I put several items on hold, and made notes of what the item was, why I thought I needed it, and the price.

I took a moment to sit down in a neutral zone (one of those little sofas they have in the middle of the mall), and looked over my list of hold items.  I can honestly say I really do still want most of the things I put on hold.  But as I sat there, it also occurred to me that I have not even begun to purge my wardrobe, and until I do that, and get rid of what I no longer wear, and get a clear idea of where the gaps are, it would be pretty dumb to buy a bunch more stuff.  My hope is to get my possessions down to a manageable collection of  things I absolutely love – and piling more new stuff into the mix will only create more stress and confusion.

Here is the list of what I wanted to buy:

  • Gap:  shorts, scarf, t-shirt:  $92.95 (possibly a little less, there was a sale going on)
  • Victoria’s Secret:  Pajamas and a bra:  $104
  • Macy’s:  New towels for the master bath and a handbag:  $178
  • Ann Taylor:  Two blouses:  $103.50
  • Nordstrom:  Perfume:  $78

If I had followed my want monster, that window shopping trip would have ultimately cost me $556.45.

So that settled it – I walked out without buying a single thing.  I left the mall feeling vaguely depressed, but also kind of proud of myself for not doing my usual buy now/guilt later routine.  And I actually wasn’t completely empty handed – I got some perfume samples from the fragrance counter at Nordstrom’s to play with, which I guess is better than nothing.  I hope there is a day where I truly learn the art of window shopping – where I can feel just as fulfilled by only looking as when I actually buy something.  Right now though?  Still a buzzkill.

Better Than Nothing

Better Than Nothing