Shopping Bullemia: Healthy Purging for Shopaholics

10 Mar

The New York Post recently ran an article about shopping bullemia, or chronic returning. They made it out to be a bad thing, that women with shopping addictions aren’t fighting their impulses due to more lax return policies at stores.
On the contrary, this form of “bullemia” is actually shopaholics doing a good thing for their pursestrings. It’s a way for them to get their fix of shopping without the economic consequences.

That impulse buy that you can’t find anything to wear with? Solution: send it back, and get all your money back. It’s the ultimate remedy for buyers remorse, since it eliminates it completely. If only Rebecca Bloomwood–the shopaholic of the Brit lit series aptly named Shopaholic–could have figured out this pattern of buy and return before her credit card bills piled up.

I recently bought a pair of riding boots from DSW. I wasn’t crazy about them, but it was toward the end of winter, and I actually needed boots. I thought I would buy them, bird-in-hand, and then try to find better ones. If I couldn’t find a replacement, I would settle for my original purchase. Then the box sat in my room, unopened except for the few times I tried them on again to try to decide if I liked them enough to justify keeping them. For the next month (the 30 day time slot I had to return them) I made a few shopping trips to other stores, trying in vain to find the perfect pair of boots that met all of my specifications. At my 29th day, I gave up both the search and my attempt to like the first pair. I decided that if I couldn’t bring myself to take the tissue paper off my boots and wear them, the final seal of ownership, I really shouldn’t keep them. When I walked out of DSW the second time, one large shoe box lighter, I felt relieved; My buyer’s remorse was alleviated.
Moral of the story: The trend is really people being smarter about how they spend their money. Money is tight, even for the wealthy. Those impulse buys that used to take up space in your closet, tags on, are now quickly removed with the realization of how they weren’t worth what you paid for them. The result? A wardrobe without regret, with pieces that you really love.


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