diamond geezer

 Friday, February 20, 2004

The retail therapy project II

12 months ago I launched my semi-legendary retail therapy project. If you don't remember, it went like this:

    1) I am crap at spending money on myself. Please help me.
    2) I'll put up £100 of my own money to buy myself a present.
    3) You lot get to vote online to decide what that present is.
    4) I'll go out and buy whatever it is, just in time for my birthday.
    5) Look, I'm now the owner of two £50 Mathmos flashing lights. Ta.

I had a day off work earlier this week and decided to go shopping. Nothing better to do. I thought I'd see if my retail skills had improved, one year on. I headed up to Oxford Street to join the seething half-term crowds and attempted to spend some money, on myself. How did I do?

• First I tried a selection of London's finest record shops. They were all selling lots of new stuff I didn't want, plus lots of old stuff that, if I'd ever wanted, I'd have bought the week it came out. Bought nothing. So far this year - bought just one CD (Air, recommended).
• Then I tried a selection of London's finest bookshops. They were all selling the same old books from before Christmas, cunningly still labelled as 'new fiction', plus lots of even older stuff, cunningly labelled as 'recommended'. Bought nothing. So far this year - bought just one book (half price).
• Then I tried a selection of London's finest clothes retailers. They were all selling lots of hip expensive stuff I didn't think was me, plus lots of hip-hop street stuff I didn't think was me either. Bought nothing. So far this year - bought some socks (black).
• Then I tried a selection of London's finest department stores. They were all selling lots of smelly stuff, lots of chrome stuff, lots of labelled stuff, and lots of homeware aimed at people who have very different homes to me. Bought nothing. So far this year - bought one cushion (blue).
• Finally I tried the BBC Shop, just round the corner from Portland Place. They were selling lots of things I'd seen on TV I didn't want to watch again, plus lots of things I'd not seen on TV because I didn't want to watch them in the first place. Bought someone else a birthday present. Bought myself nothing. Came home.

So, the underlying problem still remains. I am still crap at spending money on myself. I still require retail therapy. I suspect I'm a lost cause. However, this year I thought I'd approach my problem from a different tack. I've thought very hard and I've tried to come up with a list of consumer-type products I might actually 'want'. Sorry, 'want' feels like such an alien concept to me. Then I've compiled my very own Amazon wishlist, and I've installed it over there in the sidebar. Or you can click here. The wishlist contains £200 worth of books, DVDs, videos and stuff, all on a London theme. If you want to suggest some other London stuff that ought to be on the list, please do. The wishlist stays up for exactly two weeks, then it comes down, just before my birthday. You could buy me stuff off it if you like. And if you don't, I'm going to force myself to go out and buy all the remaining stuff off the list, up to a total of £100. It's going to be painful, I just know it. But I need retail therapy again. Help me, please.

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