Just Like Crack
The word ‘sale’ in today’s world is synonymous with crack. People hear the word and become complete psychopaths, pushing and shoving others just to get their hands on an item marked 35% off that they likely don’t need. But it’s not just the markdowns that taunt the likes of you and me; no, it’s the fact that a sale alters our sense of judgment and has us compulsively buying things as if such a price point will never come again.
When I realized the Net-a-Porter sale was ending yesterday, I pretty much sprinted to my computer and pounded through the sale pages multiple times, my heart set on finding an amazing pair of shoes or a dress that I had somehow missed the previous 5 times I’d clicked through the site. As I went through page after page, I began to notice items “selling out” or disappearing. “Crap! That Lanvin dress I can’t afford is gone now! Shit shit shit!” It was then that I entered the panic mode. I started adding everything to my cart as if it was Supermarket Sweepstakes and I had 15 more minutes to find ingredients for Cassoulet. Shoes! Bags! Key fobs! YES!
I imagine that Black Friday sales at Best Buy and Target are quite similar to this. The mad dash for seven 80″ flat screens for your studio apartment and four X-Boxes for the kids you don’t yet have all sound totally reasonable as you push a mother and her child over while reaching for an iPad mini. It’s a 50% off sale and YOU NEED IT ALL.
It’s not until you approach checkout that you begin to question your overflowing shopping cart. Do you really need multiple copies of The Office: Season 1? And why are you buying an iPhone 4 when you just got the 5? ”Because it’s $100!” you say to yourself. And so begins the back-and-forth game of “Do I Actually Need This? Yes I Do. No I Don’t.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned a full shopping cart (for the record: I’m talking about the virtual shopping cart here), because everything in it just “wasn’t worth it”. But I also cannot tell you how many times I have compulsively purchased something on sale and never actually worn it. So, how do you justify it? How do you know when that marked down item is really worth it? I have no answer. If I did, that feather hem dress wouldn’t still be sitting my closet with it’s price tag on.