In the name of shopping


some people do crazy things in pursuit of shopping. some people have spent 40% of a paycheck on one item. some people plan a vacation destination based solely on the opportunity to shop. some people will spend a day browsing aimlessly, then happen upon a very beautiful item that is not in their size (nevermind that it's not even on their list of necessities... maybe because no such list exists), so they then travel across town to another boutique that carries the same brand, only to also come up empty handed, therefore forcing them to go home and send emails to each store soliciting help in procuring the item in the right size, and then calling the stores directly, getting a sliver of hope from one email response which leads them to a trail that ends across the country, and now, as you read, the item is en route to its new owner... but "crazy" is such a judgmental term. and as someone who has taken some (not all!) of the aforementioned actions, i advocate against passing too much judgment... at least pertaining to some of the aforementioned actions...

have you ever gone to any degree of an extreme to find/buy something? is your satisfaction with an item commensurate with the effort expended to acquire it in the first place?

16 comments:

a. said...

ha... now that you mention it ("some people plan a vacation destination based solely on the opportunity to shop") i realized that i did plan my last trip to paris, the one on which i purchased the etam coat that i have worn to shreds, to coincide with the winter sales. (i was going to visit a friend... it had to be over winter break... what point would there have been in leaving just before the sales began, i ask you?)

so i guess even though i wasn't specifically looking for a coat, i had planned ahead that i would be shopping once i got there. i also got a fab pair of shoes, now completely worn out, on that trip. so in this case at least, my satisfaction with the items purchased was commensurate with the effort expended. (your question sounds like something an economist would ask... i love it.)

then again i know there are times when that hasn't been the case. but i am too embarrassed to share the sordid details of those. suffice it to say your hypothetical situations are pretty darn spot-on.

Candid Cool said...

as i'm reading this i'm putting little sticky notes on a map of ny for all the stores i want to go by...

i havent gotten that extreme in searching for anything. if its sold out, i guess it wasnt meant to be, & fashion always recycles itself so it may come back around in another 2 seasons

fashionaddict said...

Once me and a couple of friends went insane trying to track down an Onizuka Tigers boutique in Amsterdam - we were told the selection would be good. We spent an hour getting lost in the rain without an umbrella, before we found it. Tempers were short throughout the whole thing (fightng over directions), but since I did land myself a pretty cool pair of sneakers, it was worth it.

That would be an exception to the norm - I only did it because I really love Tigers. The effort is only worth if it's something I truly want. Otherwise like Candid Cool, I leave it to fate. I already have too much clothes anyway...

Anonymous said...

I am taking a day trip to the USA from Canada next week with some girlfriends for the sole purpose of shopping. This isn't the first time I've done that, nor will it be the last.

We're planning an even more extensive trip for the Spring.

Dun dun dun!

Granted, these trips are motivated more so on the high Canadian dollar. ;-)

xo

Sabina

atelier said...

I think it's really difficult to concentrate so much in an item, you can be sad because you coudn't get it, but next day probably you'll see something to like much more. The only item I can think about (I mean, without loose the interest) is a pair of Manolos, which hopefully I will have soon!

Anonymous said...

i've saved and plotted towards a purchase, forgoing a lot of things, and you betcha, yes! my satisfaction with the item was worthy of the effort to obtain it!

In Yr Fshn said...

What a great question! I only do that for gifts. For some reason, calling somebody across the country to hunt down a pair of sneakers for the BF is more exciting (and worth it) then finding something for myself.

TravelGretta said...

Funny you should ask...I was at Marshall's Mecca yesterday, and found a gorgeous Elie Tahari satin-y tank, that I am now going to wear to every holiday party I'm invited to. I bought the size M one, and I noticed they also had one in XS. The MSRP was $188, and the crazy back-room lady (see http://travelgretta.blogspot.com/2007/09/silver-lining-is-in-my-pants.html)had marked it down to $15.
Today I thought I would go back and get the XS for my sister's b-day gift, so I drove there on my lunch hour. It was GONE! SAD!

Long story, just expressing my illness.

Iheartfashion said...

I have travelled to Italy for shoes (back when the dollar was high against the euro/lire), and yes, it was worth it.

editor said...

travelgretta travelgretta travelgretta, you did it, you left the hypothetical "might be perfect, but not sure" item, never to see it again. yes, in this case it was a satin-y tank and not a black sweater, and it would have been for someone else (your sister) not for you, but still.
oh dear, i just poured salt on it didn't i?

a. too embarrassed? even if it gets lost deep down here at the bottom where only i will revisit? ;)

candid cool, for some reason i'm surprised you're so level-headed about this. never any agony if they're sold out? never? interesting.

fashionaddict - a balance that i can relate to (i'm not always "crazy").

on the other hand, sabina, i would do the exact same thing if i were in your canadian shoes.

atelier - i have a longer attention span than that unfortunately. i think you're right, if i let it go a'la candid cool, and were open to finding it, i'm sure i could get distracted by a new item, but i tend to put on blinders, have tunnel vision, obsess, etc.

anonymous - :)

inyrfashion - now you're just making me look bad. and selfish. ;)

iheartfashion - you pulled a sabina!

a. said...

dear editor - do you read the ny times? because if not you NEED to read this article (and well, actually everyone else) (if you do read it - did this article get you on the topic?) by the way i would like to mention that i found the article by entering "rationalize monkeys" in the ny times search box. love it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/science/06tier.html

"For half a century, social psychologists have been trying to figure out the human gift for rationalizing irrational behavior. Why did we evolve with brains that salute our shrewdness for buying the neon yellow car with bad gas mileage? The brain keeps sending one message — Yesss! Genius! — while our friends and family are saying, “Well... ”

the author is clearly using a male as an example here (oh wait, did i make a gendered assumption? guess i did. i'm going to let it stand) but substitute "pointy-toed pirate-y leather boots with the left boot having a slightly darker finish than the right, but they're fucking cool, and they're on sale, and i'm in paris, and i have been searching for a good pair of boots for forever, so it makes sense that i buy them, right?" for the neon yellow car and well... there you have it.

a. said...

so just to clarify, those boots were bought on that same parisian trip. i think i tend to either 1) rationalize my bad decisions away a la the monkeys in the article or 2) block them out of my memory, so that the boots didn't immediately come to mind when i first thought of my soldes d'hiver purchases - i only thought of the good ones.

but if you want to know about truly embarrassing - another incident involves a trip to morocco, a last minute dash through the fez medina to purchase a leather purse i decided i HAD to have because when would i ever be back in morocco, using all my remaining money (dirhams, dollars AND euros), having to stop at ATM on the way to the airport in order to pay for my taxi, finding that my bank account was empty, using my VISA card instead (oh the fees), and then, getting to the airport without enough money to let my friend know when i was arriving in germany (NOT home), and having to rely on the kindness of strangers (the guy ahead of me at security) to help me out.

i'm sure you can guess about the bag...

editor said...

i will look at that article this evening a. but no, it does not sound familiar.
though i have a yellow jacket with red stitching, which i bought under self-imposed pressure with a gift-card, and now you're making me think that i might be able to sell it to a monkey...
hmmm, with the 2 travel examples being...while traveling, which creates a certain stress/pressure/sense of urgency, i wonder if i covered this over the summer separately - a slightly different type of "end of your rope" mentality. i'll look at my archives.

editor said...

ah yes, here it is.

http://retailrecovery.blogspot.com/2007/08/touring-in-style.html

though i didn't focus the question specifically on that "sense of urgency/delusion of good" thing that happens to us. i never did the follow-up to a pair of black high tops i bought in antwerp. i saw them from the street in a small boutique window, stopped me in my tracks. i had never seen anything like them, i felt like a pioneer, they were so cool, etc. so i bought them, went to bruge and saw them in several large chain store windows. i thought i was disappointed then, but just last month, i got an urban outfitters catalog in the mail and guess what sneakers were in there?! so my problem seemed to be assuming that anything i encountered "over there" was unique or different, an opportunity. wrong. the world is shrinking.

martha said...

Obsess. I've been known to obsess over an item. That might sound somewhat passive, but it's time-consuming. I don't always buy the things I obsess over, so I can't say whether the items are worth my time and passion. On the occasions when I do buy them, yes, they are.

Candid Cool said...

a little agony of course, but it's that saying you cant cry over split milk type thing. for everything that got sold out, there's another thing i lucked out on.