Retail Rationalizing

This is how it starts. One day you look at your purse and you think, “that thing is starting to look ragged, maybe I should look for a new one”. So you start to shop around, maybe you look at a few stores where you have gift cards or you do some searches online. Then you spot a bag you like, it’s cute but way too expensive, so you keep looking. But wait, there’s that bag again—and again, it keeps popping up. You do a search for ‘cross-body-leather-bag’ and it keeps following you. You read the reviews, they’re all good. You learn it’s a cult bag, which isn’t appealing because it’s popular (in fact that’s a downside) but it is appealing because it means it’s a well made versatile bag people seem satisfied with.

One day you find yourself at the mall and you think “I’ll just pop into Nordstrom and see if they have that bag”, of course they do. After a few minutes of petting the soft leather lovingly, you try it on. Eventually the sales girl comes over because you look crazy as you obsessively play with the thing and try it on several different ways. Zipping, un-zipping, looking for some flaw to make you love it less, but you can’t find anything, it’s exactly what you want it to be. Damn.

I’ve never been big on labels, if it looks cute, who cares who makes it? I have plenty of clothes from Costco and I’m not ashamed. The problem is that sometimes, especially with bags and shoes, the label is more than just a name, it’s better quality too. You see how I’m justifying this to you? It’s a slippery slope. Although I can’t imagine I’ll ever be the girl spending all her money on designer shoes and handbags, I can understand now how it happens, and I can’t judge anymore. Nobody actually needs a new purse right? I could use a plastic bag or a tote bag or something, the truth is that I want it, I want it. To say that I need it is just a rationalization.

Now it has become a thing, I find myself looking at my wardrobe thinking, “that jacket would look way cuter with that bag”, or “if I just stop buying so many damn groceries I could put the money towards that bag”. This may be one reason many “fashionistas” (I kinda hate that word) are so skinny. Seriously though, when you’re lusting after a product, whether it be a bag, or an ipod, or a miracle face cream, once you’ve started imagining it in your possession, it’s hard to just let it go.

I’m not saying this phenomenon is good, or right, or healthy, but it’s definitely true. You see something, you want something, you then rationalize that you need to have it, you think about it a bit too much, and then finally you buy it. Sometimes it ends up being something you love and use constantly, and sometimes it sits at the back of your closet or the bottom of your purse giving you a twinge of guilt every-time you come upon it.

So, what’s a girl to do? I could show restraint and walk away, but I could really use a new purse, and any money I spend on something else will just be money I could have spent on the one I really wanted. I feel stupid for thinking about an object so much. Stuff is just stuff, right? But I’d assume most people (in this country at least) have made a purchase they’ve rationalized in some way. It could be anything, a TV, a car, a kindle, we all want things. Women get labeled as having this problem more than men, but I don’t think anyone is totally immune to it. So maybe I want a $295 bag, so what? I’m going to go ahead and rationalize it to myself and work and save for it, check some discount sites, and then maybe I won’t feel so bad about it—that’s the point of rationalizing right?

My question is, have the rest of you ever had this problem?

Also, has anyone ever used They have the bag I’ve been obsessing over but I’ve never bought anything in an auction with no returns, I’m scared! Any advice appreciated!



Filed under shopping

10 responses to “Retail Rationalizing

  1. bonanza is good, i sell on there all the time 🙂 I have a couple RM clutches – your best bet is to either purchase it at her bi-annual sample sale (not really samples, all freshly made and sold in an array of colors) or get it online. There are no fakes so you don’t have to worry about that. Just pay attention to the seller’s feedback. I would pay no more than $200 for a RM clutch! (she sells them for $183 at her sample sale I believe). Don’t feel bad about wanting a new bag…You should see my limits on new bags sometimes 😦

    • Thanks for the info Amanda! It’s good to know you’re a fan of these bags because your endorsement further rationalizes me purchasing one! I’m going to have to look into these sample sales now—I’ve been to a few before and had panic attacks, but it just might be worth it for this!

  2. 9juanjuan

    I AM GOING THROUGH THIS RIGHT NOW!!! I need a new winter coat. I wanted a certain style and while searching for it I found one I LOVE….but then it turns out it’s $1000 from Opening Ceremony (TYPICAL). It’s now on sale for $700 something but not sure they have all sizes in stock and $700 is redonk. Now I’ve been looking for the same coat basically everywhere else and I’m able to find similar ones which are just as expensive but I could buy it with the department store’s credit card I have. EEEK! Do I want to be paying for something for over a year that I won’t be wearing for more than 4 more months this year!!!? But I know I would wear this coat for like 3 yrs!!

    • John, I feel your pain. Once you’ve seem something you love, nothing else is going to be good enough. $700 is pretty steep, but if it’s a warm coat you’re going to use a lot maybe it’s worth it? If you do wear it for 3 years then it’s really only $230 a year right? Which isn’t so bad, do you see my ridiculous rationalizing? Only you can decide if it’s worth it. Maybe you could find a coupon somewhere??

  3. haren

    Sorry John, I can’t get my mind around $1,000 for a coat. Is it made of gold?

  4. mkz201

    Sigh. Happens to me all the time. Usually I bargain with myself that if it goes on sale for $X I can have it. I’ve given in a few times and always feel guilty. There is this $1,600 Zac Posen dress I have my eye on for a wedding though…

  5. haren

    $1600 for one dress–is that made of platinum?

  6. Lizzy

    justine i feeeeeel your pain! i’ve been doing this with ikea stuff for the last 2 weeks, then yesterday me and sebas finally went and got all the crap i wanted and guess what- it made me feel good! retail therapy is real and it helps and i don’t give a shit!

  7. Pingback: Beauty Grab-Bag: Stay Warm, Order Stuff Online | beauty dart

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