Eether, eyether, neether, nyther

yesterday i collected 2 medium-size bags full of clothing that i had determined were not keepers. i took the clothes to a shop that buys (and sells) clothing. i like this place because whatever they don't buy, you can take back home or leave there and they will donate them for you. i always leave the pieces they won't pay for.
when they do select items to resell, they offer you a certain percentage of what they value the items at in store credit, or a smaller percentage in cash. i have always taken the cash.
this time i was in a rush, so instead of leaving the store to do other errands, i hung around and browsed with zero intention to buy, just waiting for them to give me a total. while i circled the racks with complete disinterest, one little top caught my eye. i absentmindedly lifted up the hanger (instinct i guess), and glanced at it. adorable. my size.
i looked over at the "buying" counter and the girls were ready for me. i still had the hanger in my hand when they handed me the receipt to take up to the register. the front register is where you tell them if you will take cash or credit for your clothes. i had less than 40 feet to cross before i had to make up my mind. i am currently not shopping, but here was an opportunity to get something with money i didn't really have, so it was like the top was free... was that shopping? a grey area.
in the end, i took the top and the difference the store owed me. that is, i got a top AND money, in exchange for the clothing i brought in. i made space in my closet, got money, got a top, and spent no money (is this technically accurate?). i should rephrase, no money left my wallet, and new money went into my wallet. if the selling transaction had happened in a store that was separate from where i did the "buying" - well, clearly this would be considered shopping....i'm afraid i broke the rules... it felt harmless at the time, but i think it was a knee-jerk reaction to seeing and wanting something. bad knee. bad bad knee.
what if i had used a gift certificate?
what if i had never been offered cash as an alternative and instead done a straight barter?

what constitutes shopping?

i bought some paper and paint supplies for my other blog, and my friend raised the proverbial eyebrow "i thought you weren't shopping." what? huh? does that count? it felt more akin to buying groceries, at the time.
what about "window shopping" - is that a form of shopping?

(now back to not looking)


Iheartfashion said...

Well, if the point of not shopping is to NOT spend money, then what you did is NOT shopping. I don't consider bartering shopping anyway. I've allowed tenants to pay me in organic produce (she worked on a farm) or by painting rooms. Everyone wins! It's as if you traded sweaters with a friend. Fair play.

editor said...

^^^iheartfashion - i was feeling kind of low about what i had done, but i should have known i could count on you for this response. :D

enc said...

I deem you "safe." I think there is a difference between "not spending MONEY in general," and "not shopping for sport/amusement." If you were banning all spending, then theoretically, you couldn't buy anything other than necessities. I think buying paint and supplies for your other blog—which I love—doesn't count as shopping for sport/amusement. I also think that the new top doesn't count, because you didn't spend anything. In addition, the spirit in which it came into your possession was honest and true. You didn't acquire it while shopping for sport/amusement.

editor said...

^^ha ha ha, i think you guys are being too nice to me.

candid cool said...

i agree with enc & iheart. it's not shopping. i applaud you that you found a loophole in the system :)

i dont consider fun/hobby items as "shopping" esp. if they prevent you from actually going out & shopping.

window shopping is not shopping as long as money isnt spent, which is why im staying faaaaar away from a zara.

Nancy said...

I think maybe you did technically spend some money. Sort of. There was less money going into your wallet than if you didn't buy the top.

But the ratio of what went into your closet as opposed to what came out of it is applaudable. Many things came out, one thing went back in.

As for the art supplies, you should not feel bad for buying them. They are things that make you happy, occupy you, and stimulate your brain.

Carlene said...

Buying art supplies is NOT shopping. Is buying toothpaste shopping? Deodorant? No, those are necessities, much like art supplies for an artist, which you are.

So, the top, what's it like?

nataJane said...

Nope, I don't think it was shopping. Call it "trading" :) But you do not have less money because of your new piece. Enjoy it!

fashionaddict said...

Oh dear, if you go down so hard on yourself every time you buy something new, it all becomes too obsessive, and that takes the joy out of loving to just enjoy the top while you go back to NOT looking :)

I'm not too sure what's shopping is (it's probably pretty subjective), but I know that when it reaches the point of simply wanting to possess and own, then that's a pretty unhealthy point. Otherwise, I try not to take it too seriously.

enc said...

Well, if you want a slap on the wrist, I'd tell you to fight that urge next time. It's a slippery slope! Howzat?

K.Line said...

This so-called grey area is not grey to me. You are trying to avoid spending money unnecessarily. Your adventure was not about spending money - in fact you got money back. You also got rid of stuff you were never going to use again in favour of one item you will use. What underpins this experiment? If it's being fiscally prudent, you are doing a fantastic job, IMO! If it's self-denial - well, that's a different game altogether...

PS I particularly love having the kind of experience you describe in this post because I feel a) like I'm divesting myself of crap I don't need which may b) appeal to others or go to charity and c) provide me with a bit of cash, to boot and d)lead to a free "giftie" I'll enjoy until it's time to recycle it too. No guilt required, seriously.