Ahhhh… Retail Therapy

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by April Cameron

Everybody has their vices. For some, it”s chocolate and more chocolate. For others, it”s a bet here or there on a sports game. Some people need a good glass of wine every night. Others, like me, need to shop. Well, I guess I need the wine and the shopping, but who”s counting here?

Honestly, I NEED the shopping. I really need it. It”s not like I have to go out and spend big dollars on something. I can even get my “fix” from grocery shopping. (Sad, I know, but there is something about grocery shopping that fixes my spending need. I mean, you HAVE to have that stuff, so it makes shopping for it o.k.)

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I think I would be the favorite for the gold. Whether being judged for speed shopping, endurance shopping, even ratio of items purchased to money spent, I really think I could take the lead.

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Let”s take speed shopping for example. As a working woman with a small child, I found that shopping (especially for clothing items) just wasn”t the same as it was in the B.C. era (Before Child). Have you ever tried to buy yourself a new outfit after work when you”ve just picked your child up from daycare? Just getting to the store is bad enough.

Here”s how my typical conversation would go:

“Hi sweetie, how was your day? Do you want to go shopping with Mommy?”

“I want candy.”

“If I get you some candy, will you stand right beside Mommy while I do some shopping?”

“Can I get pink candy?”

“I”ll get you pink candy, but you have to stay right beside Mommy while I shop.”

“Can I get blue candy?”

Arrrgghhh. So bribery may not be the best parenting method, but a shopaholic will do what it takes to get to the store. Needless to say, once I do get there, the candy I promised to purchase falls on the floor, my little one is crying and the salespeople are just hoping I keep her sticky little fingers off of the new spring line.

Hence, the speed shopping leg of the race is born.

I found that while I was working, I could make the very most of my lunch hour by shopping. I knew all of the quickest routes to all of the nearby stores. I knew just where to park at the malls to get to the store I wanted to with the least amount escalator time. I even knew how to plan my shopping excursions so that I would have time to grab something to eat in the car on the way back to work so I wouldn”t starve to death for my shopping fix. I even learned that if you go on a scouting mission in the store prior to the actual “shopping” event, you could get more purchases in a smaller amount of time.

For example, one of my all-time favorite shopping stores is Stein Mart. Clothes, shoes, accessories, home items, gifts, children clothes all in one handy-dandy convenient location…that”s NOT a mall. I learned that if I took one lunch break one day to check it out, see what was there, maybe try on an item or two, then go back the next day on my lunch break to make the purchases of the items I had scouted the day before, I could get a lot more purchases for my time spent.

Now, for those of you who can”t make it to the store two days in a row, the scouting operation of speed shopping is still beneficial. If you know you have plans during the next day”s lunch hour, scouting can be your lifesaver if you actually have to take your children to the store with you. By scouting in advance, you”ve already figured out what to buy, what size, etc., so you just run in, pick it up and head straight to the counter to make the purchase. Voila! Speed shopping at it”s best.

Endurance shopping is something more people are probably familiar with. Spending an entire day at the mall or outlet stores or traveling from shopping center to shopping center is