Thursday, October 01, 2009

The NOtober Challenge

My name is Getalife and I am a shopaholic. I am powerless over the sway of a sale or the temptation of designer knock-offs sold out of a van. Consumerism is my religion, and I worship the Goddess BOGO at the altar of Clearance. I never met a coupon I didn’t like. I have had to leave many a mall by running at the dropping metal gate and rolling under burdened with bulging bags before being separated from my vehicle until the next morning. Shoes are a sacrament. Semi-Annual sales are spiritual. I have been to the Mall of America because it is a haj. I face Woodfield three times a day and give thanks that I live within easy commute of the largest square footage of retail on the planet.

Like most belief systems, my Consumerism needs a time of atonement. Reflection. Sacrifice of the self for the betterment of the soul.* Many religions require fasting, prayer, or the ‘giving up’ of some little worldly delight to strengthen one’s resolve and deepen one’s faith. I, my friends, intend to give up recreational shopping.

Swear off shopping?! Can I do it? If so, for how long? Minutes? Hours? What qualifies? What doesn’t? These questions and more need to be explored over the next month as I attempt to curb the consumerism.

First off, why a month with 31 days? Wouldn’t February be the natural choice? Short, crappy weather… Several reasons. Obviously, I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time, so procrastinating more months is really a lame excuse. Secondly, I have no idea how long I could realistically go with out blowing it anyways, so if I’m only going to make it two days, it might as well be the next two vs. February first and second. Thirdly, let’s not go all crazy and miss birthday coupons, now shall we?? (Although the resulting “March Madness” would suddenly have a meaning I could embrace.)

I’ve attempted this exercise in various permutations before, usually by just limiting certain categories. Example: no clothes purchases. Accessories and shoes are fine, just no outerwear or lingerie. This method has worked, and I have made it for one month. This time I’ll try to limit all categories, and see where I fail. This could help me do break out months; i.e. no jewelry July, no make-up May… oh, we’d be looking at a sad Shoeless-tember.

Right now, I see the biggest obstacle as Coupon Cold Turkey. In my world, letting a coupon expire is a misdemeanor. Not something to be taken lightly. Can common sense triumph over cents off? Do I not secretly harbor a dark desire to flush a killer coupon out with this method? One that was so incredibly fantastic that it would be a sin not to redeem it??

A.A. advises their adherents to remove all alcohol from their houses. Destroy temptation. Make a clean start. This would most likely be the best course of action. I should throw away every offer and coupon I receive (and, oh, do I get them. Retailers are not dumb.) immediately. Don’t even read them. That way, I won’t know what I’m missing out on. Or not . What if I really, really needed one? It wouldn’t hurt to have them with me, as I always do. I just wouldn’t act on them. But what if?

I mean a true ESS – Emergency Shopping Situation could arise…

Terrified Woman: Is there a doctor in the house? My husband is bleeding to death!

GAL: I just happen to have a coupon for a free tourniquet with lip gloss purchase…

Terrified Woman: Please! Yes, please, for the love of God, I need the tourniquet.

GAL: Well, I guess it’s an emergency. I really should break my vow.

Terrified Woman: Now! Now!

GAL: Hang on. Hang on. Now which is better against my skin, the Pucker Up Peach or Shiny Strawberry?

It could happen.

* Ok, in my case, that’s spelled sole

No comments: