January 13, 2008

The Anorexic Shopper

This is the view of St. Augustine from the Anastasia Light House. St. George Street in St Augustine is a pedestrian walkway that runs several blocks through old town. It is a delightful mixture of gift shops and historical buildings. Others would say that it is a history based tourist trap. I like the place because it has a great feel to it. St. Augustine claims to be America’s oldest continually occupied city. First were the Spanish, then the English, then the Spanish, then the English, and so on. It makes for great architecture.

We were visiting St. George Street with our little dog, Zoe, in tow. My wife wanted to visit the Spanish Quarter which I have seen before. The Spanish Quarter is like a mini version of Sturbridge Village with all the occupants working in period costume - doing old stuff while dressed in old stuff. So I waited with Zoe on the street and read a book for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful warm, sunny day.

It occurred to me later that I could have visited some of the gift shops. I could have just checked everything out. But shopping does not seem to be part of my nature. Let me clarify that. Shopping without a specific purpose is not part of my nature. If there is something that I really want, I am a great shopper.

Once I wanted to get a blue, zippered sweatshirt without a hood. They are hard to find because almost all zippered sweatshops have hoods. I am the only one who wears this particular combination. I could not find one and I returned from the mall without a new sweatshirt.

My wife said, “Did they have other colors?”

“They had green ones”

“Why didn’t you buy the green.”

“I went to buy a blue one.”

It was clear to me. I was on a mission to find the blue. I never deviate from my mission.

Someone once suggested to me that I needed to learn how to “graze” in a store. I should just go in, look around and notice stuff. I have only one question. Why? Is grazing fun? Doesn’t grazing lead to purchasing? Wouldn’t I end up with lots of stuff that I don’t need or want?

Craig Wilson writes a weekly essay in USA Today and this week he mentioned that he has been spending too much money. So for the next year he is going to buy only necessities: food, medicine, travel, etc. Apparently travel is a necessity to him. He did this once before and it was “cleansing” for him.

I would compare Mr. Wilson to an overeater. He is just doing too much of a good thing when he is shopping so he needs to cut back. I am not an overeater shopper. Maybe I am bulimic? No, a bulimic shopper would buy the stuff and then bring it back. I am an anorexic shopper. I just do not shop.

And I am okay with that. I'd rather be reading a book. And there is always my birthday or Christmas when a blue, zippered, non-hooded sweatshirt is bound to appear.

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