Monday, January 12, 2009

One step forward, a half step back?

So, if you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know by now that I have many issues.
· My dog
· My weight
· My Budget - or lack there of
· My patience - or lack there of
· My hair
· The mice that will. Not. Leave. My. House.

This post is about none of the above.

This post is about addiction and therapy.

There are many drugs out there - and I admit, (hey, I went to college) I have tried a lot of them from time to time, but there is one addiction that I just cannot seem to kick. And, it's one that I just get such a high from:


Of course, it leads to immediate regret and ultimately guilt because I've got so many credit cards with HUGE balances and a credit score so low that's it's also my goal weight. It's crazy, I don't even keep half the stuff I buy, I just buy it for the high of having something new, oh, and the bag – I just lurve shopping bags, especially the glossy ones, but let's get back to my post. Then, a couple days or weeks ok, maybe even months later, I return it all.

And, no, I'm not a "renter" of new things. I worked in retail for a very long time and we had renters all the time - you know who you they are. They buy an outfit and, um a weekend or two later, they return it because "they changed their mind." Yeah right, they changed their mind after they wore/used it for whatever event they needed it for. (OK - I've actually done this - but it was a long, long time ago - and it was for my senior pictures – well, not that long ago.) My family was broke and I just HAD to have the cutest clothes for my senior pics - so I bought all of my outfits the day before my photo shoot, made sure the tags were tucked in and out of the camera’s view and then returned said outfits to the mall that afternoon. What? I had my senior pictures taken in August - who needs 3 wool sweaters in August at full price? Ok, so we have that out there – I was a renter, but no more.

What I am, I've decided is a bulimic shopper. I binge (shop til I drop) and then I purge (regret, return and credit back to my card.) When I shop, sometimes it IS fun, but mostly, it’s all about chasing that “feel good high” of buying new shoes, clothes or both with one exception – it ALL has to be on sale. I get an even BIGGER rush when I’ve gotten something at an incredibly low price because
a: it justifies me buying 2 or 3 of them and
b: I don’t can’t just buy one.

Instead of one sweater, on sale from $79 marked down to $19.99 (.99 gets me every time) I have to binge buy two, maybe even three. I have to have my basic black, but then I also like red and I look so good in blue. I might as well get three because I’m getting three sweaters for less than the price of one! This, is how I do math. I would make a horrible business woman. I would. No doubt in my mind – whatever business I would run, would be bankrupt in six months time.

Then I purge return. I’ll get home with my three sweaters and then my $100 worth of I-don’t-know-what, that I had-to-have, from Target and IMMEDIATELY guilt/regret will consume me. My high has just ended and I plummet into a deep depression that will keep me awake for nights on end, thinking about my bank balance until I return most, if not everything, I just bought. Binge and purge. Buy and return. They say bulimia is all about control. What am I trying to control by buying stuff and then returning it?

It’s my moms fault. No, really. It is. My parents are much older than most of my friends (and probably yours) parents. They are 79 (my mom had me in her 40’s – yes, I’m still young-ish) and they grew up during the depression. And let me tell you, I have heard about the depression for like My. Entire. Life. I have been called spoiled since I don’t even know when. You know the story you hear from your grandparents (or in my case, my parents) about walking to school, uphill, both ways, in their bare feet? Yeah, well I heard that about everything.

“You want a new sweater, Shopgirl? When I was your age, I only had two sweaters and I had to I hand wash them every other night so I had something to wear to school.” Ewww. I would wrinkle my nose, make a face and just storm off when my mother would make that noise. My grandma lived three hours away, and since I grew up in the house of miser, I couldn’t call long distance to confirm or deny the tale of the two sweaters. Instead, I would re-treat to my bedroom and peruse through Newport and Speigel catalogs and Seventeen magazine and daydream about the day when I would be old enough to have my very own credit card and then be able to buy that sweater (or two or three) on my own.

So I think that’s why I am the way I am today. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to have many new things, and money was always talked about like it was evil. (Don't get me wrong - I had what I needed - but just not what I wanted and never, ever designer goods.) It seemed like we never had enough, so spending it on anything we wanted as opposed to needed, well it just didn’t happen in my family. I remember one time when I needed new basketball shoes and this displeased my mom to no end. (What? Bench warmer is an IMPORTANT position – what if someone gets hurt? I was there to get in the game if needed)

Anyway, tennis shoes have ALWAYS been expensive and it seems like they’re even MORE expensive when you HAVE to have them. My mom took me shopping and of course she went straight to the sale rack and found a pair of Converse cheap shoes. They actually weren’t that bad looking – they were no Nike’s or Reeboks, but they weren’t that bad. At first sight. When I put them on, however, that’s when the trouble started. You see, these were the only pair of basketball shoes that the store had, and were on sale. All the others were like double the price, so these were the shoes my mom wanted to buy. And she did. Even though they were Two. Sizes. Too. Big. She didn’t say it, but I’m sure she was thinking “you sit the bench anyway, why do they need to be the right size?”

“Oh, I don’t know mom, maybe because a 5’1” girl doesn’t normally have size 9 feet, but hey, I’m sure no one will notice and I won’t be made fun of. No. Not in middle school. The kids are swell and so considerate of everyone’s feelings and fragile egos.” I’m pretty sure this is when all of my self esteem issues started too. But I'll save that tasty treat for another post.

Tonight, however, I made progress. I went to the store to return the sexiest, but I-really-don't-need-another pair of $100 leather high heeled boots that I got on sale for $59 before Christmas, thank you very much. Going in I kept thinking to myself, I can return these way to expensive boots and buy something else because everything is marked down right now. Well, that’s exactly what the old Shopgirl did. (be patient, the progress report is coming)

I picked up four shirts that I thought were cute, but mainly because they were 50% off the original price and then an extra 40% off of that. That’s like almost FREE – right? I didn’t even try them on, I just put them on my credit card. I figured I’d try ‘em on at home, and if they didn’t fit I’d bring them back (and start the whole cycle all over again).

But. Therapy Shopgirl stayed in the store and looked around and thought about what I had just done. (I also found a couple of other things I wanted to try on – but I was thinking about my purchases) So I went to the dressing room with said purchased merchandise and the other items I picked up and began trying everything on. I ended up NOT LIKING ANYTHING and returned my previous purchase and left the store!

Well . . . . I did buy a coat. But listen, it was originally $60 – marked down to $29 and then another 40% off of that brought it to just $17. (you guessed it…99).

Baby steps. It’s all about baby steps.


  1. Oh this is my favorite Shopgirl post yet! I love the story of the Converse! That is classic!

  2. I couldn't even get Converses. I had the LA Gear Hightops. They fell apart after two wearings, I swear.

    I'm not allowing myself to shop right now. So far, so good. But I know I'll cave eventually!!!

  3. You are my shopaholic soul sister!


Like what you've read? Leave a comment and tell me how FABULOUS I am - and of course,I'll agree with you! Disagree or have a different opinion? Leave that too! But play NICE in my sandbox - or I'll have Daisy and Sassy get (lick you to death) you!