Sunday, August 26, 2012

What was I thinking?

Recently, I actually paid attention to my inner monologue while I was shopping.
Hmm, I pondered, of all the things I've seen, which do I like?
It was as if I'd thought:
Which do I dislike the least?
My mental assumption was that I was going to buy something. That was a foregone decision.

This is how I end up with blouses that don't fit, linens that are ugly, or things that end up being donated in a very short time (sometimes with the tags still on). Or even returned to the store after an attack of buyer's remorse.

I shared this thought with a couple of colleagues the other day as we reflected on consumer culture. One coworker mentioned that "big box" stores have found that the more product they have on display, the more people buy.

I think it appeals to an ingrained hunter-gatherer instinct: when there is bounty, we should harvest as much as we can in preparation for lean times. We don't seem to have any point of satiety.

(This, of course, applies to appetite as well, in my case.)

Of course, there are also times when I find something that appeals to me in a lasting way. I still regret passing up a handblown vase that we saw in Arizona. There are garments that I've worn so many times that they've actually become threadbare.

But my point is that I need to pay attention to that inner monologue, be more conscious of what my motivation is when I'm shopping. I'm not about to stop shopping -- let's be realistic -- but I want to be more aware of what need I am filling. (By the way, I do consider beauty to be something that I need.)

I do not regret buying these flowers.

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