diamond geezer

 Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Retail therapy

Some people are really good at shopping. They enjoy nothing more than five hours on a spending spree, spending time spending money. They'll happily potter endlessly round department stores, markets, boutiques and car boot sales. They can spot a bargain, buy on impulse and haggle a good deal. They know the value of a good label, and the cost of being seen wearing anything else. They juggle their credit cards with skill, buying now and paying later. They must have the latest gadget, if only so they can put it on a dusty shelf next to the last three.

I am rubbish at shopping. I may be able to spend time in shops but I can't spend money. I can walk out of a string of department stores empty-handed, and walk away from a car boot sale with nothing but mud on my feet. I prefer to buy stuff in sales, but I always have to go back twice before I'll buy something. I don't need to have the latest label, or mind if I'm seen wearing last year's. I prefer to pay with cash than to pay by card (although I always seem to get stuck behind the opposite in queues). Advertising executives despair of me, because I contribute to economic depression.

Now, to be honest, being rubbish at shopping can be a good thing. My bank manager thinks so anyway, because I've never had to meet him. It's good to be able to walk through shopping centres financially unscathed, it's good not to be taken in by feeble marketing campaigns, and it's good to be in credit and credit-card-free. There's a down side of course, in that I could easily afford to waste my money on buying unnecessary stuff because I've spent too much of my life saving money through not buying unnecessary stuff. Call it solvency abuse.

I went out to a nearby shopping mall the other day to see if I could cure myself of this affliction. I came home with absolutely nothing for myself, and just one birthday present for someone else that I don't actually need until June. I stood in a newsagents and failed to see even one magazine I wanted to buy (this was before yesterday, obviously). It would be nice to be better at spending money on myself for a change, but I'm just not good at wanting, or needing. So, erm, I have a proposition to put to you, dear readers. Catch the financial news here tomorrow.

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