That Shoppin’ Feeling, Part II.

I listed the positive and practical reasons for why I shop in That Shoppin’ Feelin, Part I. Here, I list the superficial, emotional, and impractical reasons for why I shop.

Fun. Shopping is fun! I enjoy checking out new handbag styles from my favorite designers, new shoe styles with unique touches, new color combinations in a skirt. I often seek out a copycat outfit for something I saw in a magazine or blog. It’s exciting! I love being able to buy what I want — I do not have expensive taste (yet) and can afford everything that I buy. I love window shopping, browsing, trying everything on. Even when nothing fits, I still crave the experience. Even if I leave empty-handed, I still enjoy the hunt.

Euphoria. It physically feels good, plain and simple. When I think about shopping, my heart races and I get a surge of energy. I get annoyed if I can’t go right away. I plan my days around being able to shop and will even pay a babysitter so that I can go spend money on things I don’t need.

Image. I have a penchant for the Elegant Mall, with the Elegant Department Store. I intentionally dress up to go there, trying to look like a put-together modern consumer worthy of envy. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a wife and mom that has it all together! I save the bum look for home.

Perfection. I want to look perfect, so when I get dressed, I think of something that would make my outfit, face, or ear lobes perfect and then seek it out that day or the next. As you can imagine, this goes on indefinitely.

Perfection in General. I also want the perfect: stroller, handbag, wallet, baby carrier, diaper bag, makeup storage, closet organizer. The list goes on. I research everything online, reading reviews, checking prices. For hours, days, weeks, and even months. Then I buy… and promptly return, sell, or donate because it’s not perfect. Repeat this process ad nauseum. I promise I’ll stop once I find The One! I tell myself I’m only spending [x amount] to try since I can sell for almost what I paid. But the reality is that all the time I spent researching, returning, and reselling has a significant cost: time with my family.

Serenity. Or, Escape. Shopping is so peaceful and quiet, unlike my home with two energetic and loud boys. My 3-year-old is the perfect accomplice, because he stays quiet and often falls asleep in the stroller. It’s as though he’s not even there! Lately, he’s been throwing tantrums, so shopping with him is getting tricky. On the weekends, it’s my time to get away from being a mom because I can leave both kids at home. I have a secret desire to be a Trophy Mom: be there for the fun kid stuff, but let someone else handle the nitty-gritty. When I shop, I’m myself again, not just a mom. Even if I’m shopping for the kids.

And these are my Not Good, even Bad, reasons to shop.

Sometimes It’s Cheaper to Keep than to Return.

I have a pricey lipstick that I bought from the Elegant Department Store at the Far Away Mall. I would really like to exchange it for a different color, especially since my Unshopping Rules prevent me from ever buying another one. I had to do the math, though. One trip to Far Away Mall = Lunch at Elegant Cafe (this goes without say) + Quick Stop at Upscale Kid Shop In Case There’s a Sale + Walk Across the Entire Mall to Kid’s Play Area ( x Window Shopping Along the Way) + Glance at Elegant Shoes that are near the Elegant Cosmetics Counter …not to mention gas + tolls.

I need to add that I purchased said lipstick with a $20 Elegant Enticement, so my total spent out of pocket was actually only $11. The new sensible shopper in me decided, No Way. I’ll keep my too-subtle lip color.

I’m faced with a similar dilemma today. My 6-year-old needs a haircut and is willing to try TidyTrims at the Shopping Trifecta. He usually goes to PriceyButWorthIt Salon at the mall a couple of minutes away. There, I can leave him and go shopping. Obviously, today I would stay with him, but would still need to fork out too much cash for a kid’s, albeit perfect, haircut. I can resist going to Middle-End Department Store, as I’ve had my fill. But the Shopping Trifecta? That will take serious willpower.

Well, readers, I’m going to try it. I choose TidyTrims. My 3-year-old doesn’t cry there and he’s done in 15 minutes, so it’s worth the shopping risk. I will tell the boys not to let me go into any store other than TidyTrims. I might even bribe them with a lemon square (which I have in the freezer).