Shopping Amnesia and Grappling With My Recent Shopping Binge

How did I forget what I purchased?

The day started in its usual way. It was cold and dreary, living up to the expectations of early March. My dogs were yapping at the sound of the postman out front, and after a few minutes I decided to collect the mail, braving myself for the slap of bitter air waiting beyond my front door. I grabbed the bulk of bills and overflowing catalogs and then spotted a single brown box.

I scooped it up and dashed back in the house. I wasn’t expecting any packages that day and quickly assumed it must have been a postal error…a package one of my neighbors must be expecting. I lifted it up to read the address so I could deliver it to the correct doorstep…but there in black and white was my name and address.

Defensively I scrutinized the label to see which retailer it was from. Hmmm…ShopBop…I honestly didn’t remember purchasing anything from there. Had I? My stomach sank…Uh-oh…this was a terrible sign…I was having “shopping amnesia” again, which happens when I begin buying so much that I can’t even remember.

I sat cross legged in my foyer and opened the package. As I pulled each item out, I still didn’t recall purchasing them. For a moment I thought it must be a mistake…they sent me someone else’s purchases…yes that must be it. Except, all the items were my size and fit the profile for what I had been shopping for recently.

I have two upcoming trips to Florida…each with different agendas requiring different types of outfits. I knew I wanted to purchase a few new items to pack, and in this regard began my shopping mindfully.

I started by first looking at the clothing I already owned and would bring. Then I put together a list of what I wanted to purchase. I had felt the list was reasonable, complementing my existing wardrobe…two new bathing suits, a new coverup, a neutral flat sandal, two new dinner outfits, a few new basic t-shirts, one pair of denim shorts (high wasted) and either a couple of casual sundresses or rompers. It was important to me to find clothing that was of high quality that I knew I would love and wear for the upcoming summer as well.

Here was the catch…I needed to do the shopping online because I would not have the necessary time to get to the mall. I can only speak for myself, but in order to find two bathing suits that I liked I knew I would need to try on at least twenty! That meant purchasing ALOT of bathing suits online and then returning the ones that didn’t work out. I also ordered multiple dresses, rompers, shorts, etc., all with the premise that I would hopefully find what I needed and then return the rest.

I was well aware that this buy, return, buy, return cycle would be necessary since I could not schedule a trip to the mall. Yet, as the piles of boxes arrived I felt “guilty” inside. Was I using the excuse that I couldn’t get to the store to overbuy? Was I paying attention to my shopping triggers or just shopping without thinking? Was I really being mindful, or simple telling myself “just buy it…you can return it”.

And finally, did I really need to purchase all these items on my list…or did I just want NEW NEW NEW? I did not stop long to think about this because I did not want to stop shopping. I was excited about my trips and wanted to be equally excited about what I packed.

And then came the wake up call….shopping amnesia.

It had been a long time since I had experienced this, but there was no denying that I could not recall purchasing these items. Yet there they were…two t-shirts, a pair of shorts and two cotton rompers…items that were all on my list. Similar items that I also already purchased and had received from two other retailers.

Then came the credit card bill. I love to shop, but I dread looking at the credit card bill (I mean who doesn’t?). I had a figure in my head that I roughly assumed the bill would be based on what I knew I had been buying. I also figured in the fact that my bill might not reflect all the returns that were still in progress. However, when I glanced at the actual amount due I was completely shocked…it was TWICE what I expected it to be. DOUBLE my expectations! How had I been so completely off?

I could feel my body tense, nerves racing in circles inside my stomach. I sat there with my brain numbed for a few minutes. All I could think was “How? HOW? Now What?…Why can’t I get it right?..Why am I such a failure?” I had been hoping to save some money for a few future summer “wish list” purchases. Now I would have to use all I had saved up to pay this bill and would be back at zero.

It took a few days and much retrospection until I was ready to pick myself up and move forward, reminding myself that this is a journey and there are going to be rough times and much I still need to learn and discover about myself.

I began to look at the positive side which was that I still had the money to pay the bill and did not need to go into debt. I also caught myself and didn’t continue to ignore it (like I once would have done). Now I ask myself “What steps can I take to prevent repeating this pattern in the future?”. How can I avoid being surprised by a credit card bill and an unexpected package?

I don’t have that answer right now, today. I need some time for additional introspection and want to thoroughly consider my thoughts before I spew out a list of “do’s & don’ts”. I will follow up next week with my ideas and a plan. In the meantime, I would love to have your feedback, thoughts, and ideas as well.

Please leave your comments below, email me, or visit my Facebook page to discuss there!

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