Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

The mind fuck of coupons

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Let’s face it, more of us are cutting coupons nowadays. It’s something I used to do with my parents when I was little. Something I still occasionally do, but now I do it semi-regularly. But they’re sort of a mind fuck really. Of course, no one wants to pay full retail price, but sometimes you’re lured by the “value” of a deal into buying crap you don’t really want or need. Just because it’s a bargain somehow justifies the purchase.

Case in point: Macy’s sent me these 20% off all day, one day coupons. They basically want you to shop all day and use this coupon. I get it. And between the holiday sales and the coupon, you could buy a lot of stuff not at retail price. But I’ve been really busy lately with graduate school applications and haven’t had time for shopping, so I basically forced myself to shop on Wednesday. Not only was it their “last” One Day Sale, but I had used the 20% off coupon and now I’d have to use it as many more times as I could that day to get the full value of it. So I have a crappy day of shopping when I don’t want to shop, and I end up spending more money than I want to because it’s a “bargain.” And I love bargains — I went to the ballet this week and the Mr asked if I was wearing new pants. Nope, just pants I’ve had for years and have never worn before. Cause I like to buy shit on sale. Whether I’m going to use it or not.

The other problem with coupons is that sometimes I use a coupon and actually spend more money. For example, Target sends me coupons. I <3 Target, but they’re inconvenient to get to so I don’t go there as often as I might if they were closer. I sometimes buy items I wouldn’t normally buy just because I have a coupon for it. Little things like their Archer brand snacks, or home & beauty products I don’t normally use. The crazy thing is that sometimes I pay more for a particular item (like brand name feminine hygiene pads) because I have a coupon for it when I would actually pay less just buying the Target brand like I normally do. I know; it’s completely illogical! But I’m telling you, the psychological effects of coupons is complex and devious.

I am quite seriously considering going back to my irregular and not very frequent use of coupons to retain my sanity about shopping.

Ah, the shopping season…what torture

Friday, December 4th, 2009

I hate shopping for Christmas. It’s so much pressure to come up with the perfect gift. Or not even the perfect gift, how about just any gift that the recipient will actually and genuinely enjoy. I usually want to give up year after year. I know I’m like years behind, but last month I started an Amazon wish list because sometimes I do things I wish other people would do. I wish everyone I had to shop for at Christmas had a freaking wish list!!

I was reviewing my list last night so I could email my loved ones and was thinking to myself what a random mix of stuff it was. I mean, it’s all stuff I want and I purposely picked items in a range of prices, but I wonder if it takes the fun out of getting Christmas gifts because it takes away the element of surprise.

In recent years, I’ve begged family members to send me Christmas wish lists and sometimes I look at the things on there and think…I can’t get them this as a Christmas present — it’s too practical, or not special enough. My father is the worst to shop for. He has everything he needs, doesn’t send a list, and never intimates he has an especial desire for anything. And this year I missed his birthday because I was out of the country and now I have to make sure his gifts are doubly wonderful. My sister is the best at giving gifts; she always pleasantly surprises me with something. Special too is when you get an unexpected gift from a family member — that’s always sweet.

I’d like to put cash on my Christmas list. I think we Americans are too ambivalent about cash gifts. Other cultures seem to think nothing of it, but we seem to think it’s a cop out or impersonal, and only gift it when specifically asked for it. I say cash is the universal gift. Give it freely people. I’ll distribute it equally into in my writing fund, my whisky fund (almost the same as my writing fund), my new car fund, and my bathroom remodel fund. But before I do that, I’ll buy a drink and toast you for your special gift.

And in case you thought I had no holiday cheer, I leave you with one of my very, very favorite holiday songs. I listen to this song every year and I love both the original Vandals version and the No Doubt one below:

Skin deep

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Saturday I went shopping with the girls — something I haven’t done since high school. Didn’t buy anything, but spent 5 hours at the mall. And it doesn’t matter how beautiful you are, girls still end up feeling self conscious about something, and usually several things. We talked about ballet classes — how one of us went to a ballet school that didn’t take girls with fat mothers, another one got told she needed to see an orthopedic surgeon when she was six. I took ballet off and on just for fun and I remember being in high school and my ballet teacher told me my legs were crooked and to quit riding bicycles cause it was deforming my legs. Every time I’m in front of a mirror standing up straight, I look at the back of my knees where she said I was crooked and can’t help but think of her.

And the four of us — each of us is young, attractive, healthfully thin (I was the heaviest girl there and I can hardly be called fat) and successful to boot, and I don’t think there was any one of us that didn’t feel somehow inadequate, or had some memory of feeling inadequate at some time in our lives.