Breaking the shopping habit

We live in a little tiny town with only about 10 different businesses on the main street and we don't often go to big city shopping malls, or even medium sized town shopping malls.

Yesterday, however, my husband and I drove 40 minutes to a regional centre and took refuge from the rain in the only mall with undercover parking. We had to get two things: some umbrellas (ours are terrible) and some zinc tablets. After that, we thought, we would get a coffee and then we would drive home.

When I walked into that mall, I knew that I didn't need to buy anything apart from the umbrellas and the zinc. I didn't need shoes, I didn't need knick-knacks, fragrance, makeup, a DVD or a shirt. The children didn't need anything either. They are fine for clothes and shoes and books and toys.

And yet, as soon as my feet hit the marble hallways, my head started craning into shops. "What's in there?" I thought, almost by reflex, "Should I buy that?" 

When I saw the bargain racks outside a big chain, my brain felt like it was on overdrive. "Oooh, I should look, ooh, undies are cheap, oh look, there are shorts that would fit my daughter... I could get some real bargains here." I couldn't stop my neck turning and my eyes looking.

When I suddenly realised what I was doing, I metaphorically slapped myself across the face. I have committed to decluttering my house this year. What am I doing, looking at things I don't need or want? Why am I still so convinced that 'bargains' are such a great thing?

When shopping is a leisure pursuit and bargains are the greatest good, we develop a shopping reflex that tells us we might miss out if we don't look through every cut price rack. For some reason we still think more is better and that spending money on things we didn't plan to buy is going to make us feel happy. 

I was very glad we went to the shopping mall yesterday. It brought home to me that I have a long way to go in fighting the consumerism instincts that have had me by the throat for so long. My husband and I decided that we wouldn't go shopping for 'pleasure' any more on our days off. We'll get what we need and what we plan for, and we'll leave it at that.

But we'll still have coffee! And I have to say, my yummy scroll from Bakers Delight hit the spot. mmmm.