The First Rule Of Shopping
If there is one shopping crime of which we’ve all been guilty it must surely be entering a store without clarity about what we intend to purchase.
When shopping is an aimless activity, when it is used therapeutically, or as a way to pass the time, it is risky at best and disastrous at worst. The “I’ll just go have a look around” mentality nearly always results in impulsive and often unnecessary purchases. In my work I’ve seen cases where this behavior spirals very seriously out of control.
But of course once we’re inside the store all bets are off. We are at the mercy of merchandising, and every shelf layout, every lightbulb, every song choice has been designed to get you and I to buy. How can we be expected to recall where we parked, let alone be accountable to make wise spending decisions?
While it’s certainly not a foolproof guard, the best measure one can take to stay focused while shopping is to be explicitly clear about what you plan to purchase before you shop.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a grocery store or a Sephora. A Costco (don’t even get me started there) or a Hallmark. You must have clarity of purpose.
While at home, in the safety of your own space, ask yourself:
What am I shopping for (exactly)? What do I need? What kind or kinds of items am I seeking? Do I possibly have what I need already?
Sometimes just going through these questions beforehand will quash the shopping trip if it’s unnecessary. You’ll realize you really aren’t prepared to spend x number of dollars on something, or you’ll realize you don’t actually have any precise thing in mind, or, you’ll generate a successful and comprehensive list that’s well thought out and measured against what you already have in the closet/pantry/storage.
Write it down.
If what you need to purchase is any more than, say, a black T-shirt, you should make a physical list. The point of one is not merely to remember to buy all the things you need, but to give yourself something to adhere to once in the store, where temptations abound.
Your list is your sane(r) mind speaking. Your inner dialogue while in the store is your impulsive, addict, distractible mind.
Which would you rather rely on?Image credits: unknown, Bob Willoughby via 1st Dibs
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