Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to save money by unshopping.

I love shopping. I don't buy very much, but I love shopping. I was in a jewelry store a few weeks ago looking at a $6,000 diamond necklace that was marked down to $3,500. I held it in my hands and told the sales person how much I wanted to buy it as a gift for someone. She believed me and treated me like someone with $3,500 to spend on a necklace. But I didn't buy it. Surprise.

When I go to department stores, I pick up whatever I want and put it in my cart. I wheel the items around the store and then I put some of them back were I found them. Sometimes I don't buy anything, but I'll carry something with me for twenty minutes until I put it back.

I do this all the time. I also put tons of stuff in my online carts that I just abandon. Amazon hates me.

I do this because I need to feel that sense of ownership, of possession. I don't need all the things I want to buy, so I have to trick myself into feeling like I own them which allows me let them go. Just like when I actually buy stuff. I put the underwear in the drawer, or I put the CDs on the shelf. This way, I own this stuff for a little while. I don't buy it and return it because I used to work in retail and I know how much it sucks to get returns after you thought your store was doing really well. So I don't buy these things; I just look at them and think about them, and that's enough.

I guess if I were crazy, I could put the things back on the store shelf but watch them to guard them from others, so if someone approached my stuff and tried to put it in her cart, I would pounce from around the corner shouting, "Mine! Mine!" Which would be hilarious. If I ever do go crazy, I hope it's that kind of crazy and not the kind I see in the library, all urine-soaked and filthy.

I don't know how this would work when unshopping for a gift; do you show the birthday boy a picture and say, "Here, I unbought this for you"?

So this is how I shop without shopping. It saves me money. And it doesn't seem to bother anyone at the stores as long as I don't do it with the ice cream.