Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm going, going back, back to...the store

I have a shopping problem. No, it's not that I shop too much. It's that I can't regulate it. I'm like a shopping bulimic. I will go for weeks without getting anything, and then I get hungry for STUFF. So I go out, swipe my debit card at every store in the mall, and temporarily feel very satisfied with myself. It's not until later that I look at all my new stuff and think "Ugh. I did NOT need to buy that."

So, that's where my incessant returning comes into play. Geo has estimated that I return 75 percent of what I buy. Call it shopper's remorse, or hindsight or what have you, but I can't help buying things knowing FULL WELL that I will return them...unused, unworn. I've returned things literally hours after buying them. I don't know why I shop this way, because there is nothing more terrifying to me than the process of returning something.

Now, I worked in retail for a couple years. I KNOW that the "Why are you returning this?" question is complete bull and meaningless. Unless an item is defective, no one cares. But as a consumer, I always feel massive guilt and fear when returning something, and the sudden need to defend myself.

"Why are you returning this?" immediately prompts me to start an elaborate web of lies. I can't just say "Well, I bought it 'cause I liked it, but then I got home and decided I'd rather not have it because it's not all that important to me." And you can't say "Well, it doesn't fit" because the logical solution would be to exchange it for a better size. So instead, I respond with these random, terrible answers like "Well, I accidentally bought two," or "It's so cute, but it doesn't go with anything I have," or (my personal favorite) "I bought it for a gift and then realized I didn't need a gift and I already have it so I don't need it, so I figured I have no choice but to return it." See, that last one covers all my bases.

Usually returning something isn't bad; I have the receipt, the tags, whatever. But I feel incredibly shady when I return several things to the same store. This includes Target, Victoria's Secret, Macy's and Francesca's. These are the places I limit my shopping to in Rochester, because there aren't infinite options of shopping here. So, these are the stores I find myself going back to over and over with my "Buy with the intent of Returning" motive. I can't help it. I want it all and I love shopping and buying at these stores, but when I get home and have 12 cocktail skirts, 16 statement necklaces and 3 different travel mugs, the Return is inevitable.

But I can't help buy feel like I'm always trying to "pull one over" on stores. They don't know my shopping style; all they know is that I am returning $150 worth of white shirts and that is weird. Victoria's Secret is especially suspicious. They make you answer like a billion questions about why you are returning something, which I suppose is good, considering their product. But I ended up keeping one enormous pair of red underwear because I couldn't bring myself to return them after I realized that the salesperson failed to include them in the previous 2 returns I had done at the store. I was scared that they would think I was stealing...or worse; crazy.

So, now I have 3 bags of things I need to return that I purchased in a holiday-shopping-haze. And my palms sweat every time I even think about heading out to the stores. I don't like having to justify myself to some 23-year-old stranger who would rather be Snapchatting her way through a coffee or something. I don't like the fact that I willingly put myself through this gross process at least once a month.

Unfortunately, my frugal ways always win out. I'd rather be sweaty and overly story-telling to some unknown person than let $25 waste away in my closet. I'd rather stress about a return for an hour than keep a third black pair of pants that don't even look good on me. But that doesn't mean I like it.

The easy answer would be to only buy things I love. But I LOVE everything I buy...I just don't love it for very long. It's like if you bought everything you pinned on Pinterest. You'd love it for that minute it took you to look at it, drool and then pin it; but a day or a week later, you're like "meh...I'm actually kind of over it."

Does anyone else shop like this??? Am I alone in my Buying Bulimia??

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