Retail Therapy

I'm not a big shopper; I like to shop, there just isn't a lot of time these days. But this week I had not one, but TWO stand-out retail experiences. One. I found myself at the mall at 9pm the other night running a time-sensitive errand on behalf of someone else. I was looking for the Old Navy but first I was looking for a map so I could find the Old Navy. No map. So, with less than half an hour till the mall closed, I stopped some guy at a kiosk to ask where the Old Navy was. "There's no Old Navy in this mall." "Seriously?!" "Seriously." But then he gave me a face cream sample and a eye cream sample, so that was cool and I was about to be on my way when the subtle spiel began. I was tired. I was super hungry. I was vulnerable. He sat me down in a chair. He started to put some goop under my eyes. It was nice to sit down. The stuff felt good. The secret of the goop, he told me, is diamonds. There are ground diamonds in all of the products. "What?! That's insane! That doesn't even make sense!" He thought I was funny. I wasn't trying to be. He said something about how diamonds are the only material the body doesn't reject. Wha . . . ? I did not ask him if they're blood diamonds. That seemed a little too edgy for a mall kiosk. But maybe I should have because I needed to get out of there. Now he was exfoliating the back of my hand with facial cleanser. "Does it have the microbeads that are ruining the water supply?!" I asked. He didn't know what I was talking about, so I told him. He assured me no. What do the diamonds do to the water supply, I wondered. I told him I had to go. I had this errand to run. I had fifteen minutes left. "okay okay" he told me. He wanted me to have the product if i wanted it. If I would buy one set of products ($300), he'd give me the other set ($240).  It was a good value . . . if spending $300 on eye cream with diamonds in it makes any sense at all in the universe. I'm pretty sure it doesn't. A couple more back-and-forths and I managed to tear myself away.  We bid each other forlorn farewells.

Epilogue: I rocked out my errand at The Gap (where I also snagged a cute super-on-sale t-shirt) and Uniqulo in about 18 minutes (Uniqulo closed right before I paid).  And I still have the fancy diamond dust samples in my coat pocket. Win.

Two. The next day, I was running a couple of errands which brought me near a j. crew. I had a very old return to make so I brought it in with me thinking I'd pop in and end up with some store credit.  But, no.  My return was so old that the sales lady, throwing me a bone, told me I could do an exchange for something else BUT I had to do it right then for whatever was in that store.  Suddenly, I was on some fashion-themed game show - The Price Is Right meets What Not To Wear's first day of shopping segment.  She told me how much credit I had and about all of the sales and deals and, with only about 15 minutes to spare (I'd planned for this to be a quick errand) I was off. It was super fun. I left with a sweatshirt, two long-sleeved t-shirts (my favorite kind), a cute stripey top for going out, three pairs of socks and a t-shirt for my little boy.  Bam! Success.

Lately, whenever I have gone shopping, it's been so stressful - trying to find the right thing for an audition or trying to find the object I'm picturing in my mind - and often unsuccessful.  It takes forever, and the lack of success is compounded by the time lost.  In contrast, these super-quick and rather successful episodes this past week have me wondering if shopping fast might not be a good approach, or at least a helpful goal/modification.  I wasn't shopping for anything serious so I wonder how well fast shopping would work for, say, a fancy dress or nice pair of trousers, but I think I may have stumbled onto something . . .

How do you shop?  Do you have a plan? Pieces you go in needing or wanting? Do you just wander and see what you like?  What's your strategy?