Today I learned a very valuable lesson.
It’s not enough to know what item you want to buy, you need to know the specifics, and you need to work it out BEFORE you go to the mall.
I spent over an hour wandering from shop to shop looking for a new handbag. As a woman, it’s assumed that I would just browse and eventually spend more than I intended on one or more handbags that I would probably completely love for 6 weeks, then the whole cycle repeats, leaving a trail of depleted finances and a wardrobe full of unwanted bags.
The problem is, if I was like that, like most other women, I wouldn’t actually have any trouble shopping for a bag. But I actually hate bag shopping. Bags are overpriced, their internal dimensions rarely match their external ones, they are complete victims to the most bizzarre trends making it very hard to find one that will last for more than a season. I envy people who can just impulse buy them, but for me, finding a good handbag is like buying a car. I have to inspect every inch of it, consider the aesthetic and the functionalism, I have to spend some serious time deciding whether it will be suitable for me. Additionally I don’t want it to be leather, because that stuff looks better on the cow. Because I only have one day-to-day bag at a time, and one tiny going out bag (a recent addition to the sphere of things that I own). When one of those bags breaks or gets stained or otherwise stops looking presentable or being functional, I get a new bag.
I started to go bag-blind in the shops, looking at so many bags which all didn’t seem like what I was looking for in some way or another. I think I skipped a few shops that might have been ok, because I couldn’t immediately see any bags from outside and I was starting to get uncomfortable with just going in and out of shops, trying to navigate past people to get to the bags (which are always at the back). I didn’t bother with Ralph Lauren because there was a queue to go in.
Eventually, I found something in the Levi shop that was under £10, looked nice enough, and was the right shape and size with the right number of pockets and sensible location of closable openings for me to use day-to-day. I won’t go through the nightmare again of having a bag which can’t be closed. If I’d known the shape and style I was looking for, I could have saved myself 70% of that trip and avoided all the overly-female-oriented shops, gone straight for the unisex shops, and just browsed the type of bag I ultimately bought. I would have been done in about 20 minutes. I did look online beforehand and didn’t really see anything I liked. I think I need a clearer idea of exactly what I’m looking to buy when I’m getting new seldom-buy items.
Someone could spend the rest of their life browsing in the mall for things to use in their everyday life, never actually getting to live that life because they’re spending all their time in the mall. That’s a scary thought. Once I’d bought my bag I literally ran back to my car and floored it out of there. When did shopping get so stressful?