Monday, December 8, 2008

Shopping Withdrawal

Faced with a faltering economy, the Feeblemind is trying to cut back on shopping as well. It is proving to be more difficult than thought.

A tradition is to look at the ads that are inserted into most weekend editions of newspapers. Typically in the Feeble house the conversation goes like this. The Feeble wife chimes up: "Wow, Macy's is really offering a discount on the 100 piece dinner set". Feeble would look wistfully at the chipped coffee mug he is drinking from and agree - how much nicer it would be to have a coordinated set for day to day living rather than to have a mishmash of remnants from the survivors of prior dinner sets.

But then the feeble mind gets a kick. Wait, didn't we plan not to buy a single thing this month other than the essentials. So we plan on sometime in the future when we will dump all our old crockery and replace them with a shining coordinated set. It makes sense to wait after all given that our kids have slippery fingers.

Then it is Feeble's turn. There are a couple of electronic retailers whose weekly offerings Feeble studiously pursues. The six year old computer is so slow and well overdue for an upgrade. But given that Feeble and his wife have a company issued laptop, should one splurge on a newer model just so that junior can access Nick Jr. faster?

The digital camera went on the blink and Feeble's eyes lit up. This would be a justified purchase. Since the old camera was toast anyway, Feeble decided to open it up to see how it looked inside. After opening the camera, he pressed the on button and lo and behold the camera started functioning again. Dejectedly, Feeble put the camera back together again.

The point is that we have become such a shopping driven culture. I can't help but notice that some houses in our neighborhood just don't get guests. It could be that they are transplants from far away places or just that they don't know anybody to call over for a drink or a meal. These homeowners are not reclusive. They are people who smile and have a conversation if you meet them walking the dog. But there is a distance they keep that prevents one from becoming friendlier. We find it happening a little for us too. In the weekend after the kids activities are done, Feeble or his wife sometimes wander off just to browse in a store or mall. More often than not this pleasurable interlude results in a purchase or two and a mild high.

Now that we are trying to curtail these ad-hoc shopping trips, we are realizing that the shopping high can result in withdrawals - especially when one tries to curtail it cold turkey.

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