i did not use to like to shop. family and friends thought i did, because i liked clothes. i always explained that i liked having the clothes, but not the process of buying them. then the internet happened to me. i like to buy online. nevermind that i can’t touch, try on or even be certain i am correctly seeing the item i am buying. when it’s an emotional purchase (meaning, one made to satisfy an emotional rather than practical need, inspired by boredom, sadness, frustration, stress...), i prefer the internet because then the time it takes the item to arrive is all part of the anticipation, expectation, celebration of the acquisition. then the delivery day, carefully checked and monitored, the box, it’s all more like a present than a purchase. when i do my shopping irl (as opposed to virtual – which is still very real when the cc goes through), that process feels more like work.
it isn’t that shopping in a store isn’t fun, but there is some stress involved, sometimes. either it’s a sale and i know i can’t return it, or there is a sales person making herself too available, or no sales person around to help at all, or i just don’t want to be rushed with my decision. online i can leave a web page open, contemplate, ruminate, speculate, have a snack, and generally take my time. i can spend an hour, a day, a week, visiting and viewing the item in question (geez, after all this analysis you would think i would have a higher rate of success than i do...). also, in person, the anticipation is eliminated. instant gratification used to be the order of the day, but gradually i’ve become accustomed to appreciating the delay (when there is certainty that gratification is on its way, whether it’s just leaving the warehouse or already on the brown truck, out for delivery) because it stretches out the fun, so that there is more of it.
why give all this up? well, i’ve given myself enough almost right “gifts” to consider that maybe choosing my clothes should be work, or at least should be taken more seriously. enjoying the process is not, i am realizing, more important than enjoying the results. a key point in the "pro" column for shopping in person is one that i had lately been putting in the "con" column - the selection, the choices. such quantity, all right there, side by side. instead of expertly navigating between "outerwear" "skirts" "dresses" all reviewed in separate tidy windows, i have to wade through everything at once - choosing smaller boutiques is helping me gain my footing in this wild retail world again.
now, if i buy, i have the benefit of seeing and thinking about how the item will interact with other clothes before i buy it and, i can better control myself from buying for buying's sake. it's a start.
how important is the shopping process to you?