A few days ago I publically stated my boundaries for buying one consumeristic good for myself this holiday season. Over the past week the pull to purchase something was getting greater and greater. Not a day went by without an email announcing some great sale or discount. I could barely squish myself onto the subway between all of the bags and packages of stuff other people had bought and were schlepping home. I decided that today I would buy my one good so I could stop thinking about it and get on with my life already.
Early this morning I started rereading Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume. Message pounded into my head: I do not need stuff to be fulfilled or happy, quite the opposite really. Plus, consumerism is essentially destroying the environment and detracting from my spending quality time on experiences that will help me grow and connect with the peace and happiness that already resides deep within me. I also started plotting some pretty radical New Year’s Resolutions, but I will not share those yet as they need some serious revisions. After an especially beautiful yoga class with live music this morning I trekked out into the world to buy my one good. Yes, I really did venture out to stores the last weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah. Yes, I am insane.
I had decided on the yoga leggings, they are the most practical, I have wanted them the longest, and they required no true shopping since I knew exactly what store to go. I walked into the store to find an insanely long line. I had a moment of thinking, “I do not really need these leggings, especially not today.” Then I decided that this mission needed to be accomplished so I could stop pausing to look through all of the emails enticing me with discounts and flipping through the endless catalogs that have been arriving in my mailbox in droves lately. I should have grabbed the pants, since I knew exactly what size to get, and gotten on that horrifically long line, but, alas, I got sidetracked. I wandered by the tops and fell into the trap of talking to one of the saleswomen. Then I discovered that the top I had been coveting was on sale. They had one left in the color I wanted and in my size. I walked to the dressing room with my tail between my legs, knowing full well that I had made a promise to myself and that once in that dressing room I was going to have to decide on either the pants or the top…or to break my promise.
I spent so much time in the dressing room the saleswomen starting getting a little aggravated. They even started tossing more clothes over the door. I guess they figured if I was going to take that long they might as well try to sell me something else. Their chipper voices would chime through the door, “You might like these as well.” “These are great for yoga.” “I bet you’ll love these since you’re trying on ___.” I tried on a lot of stuff. The trampoline with the sign, “bra tester” on the mirror in front of it provided entertainment and thinking time. I did a few handstands too, just to get some more blood to my brain. I had on two items that I wanted. I did not need either. What was I supposed to do? I hadn’t expected the top would be on sale. I also hadn’t just grabbed the leggings and gone straight to the cash registers. I had gotten myself into this situation and now I had to get out.
With my tail between my legs and my head down, I walked up to the cash register. Thankfully the line had gone down drastically and there were only a handful of people in front of me. I was holding two items. I was breaking my one item rule. I just couldn’t walk away from the top. I had wanted it for so long, almost as long as I wanted the leggings. I spend the majority of my time in yoga/dance clothes. While I do not necessarily need more yoga/dance clothes the items in my hands would be destined for lots and lots of use.
I failed. I failed miserably. I bought two items for myself instead of my promised one. I did stay below $100, which was one of my other rules. While I cannot return the top because the store considers all sale items a final sale, I could return the leggings. I have seriously been considering returning the leggings too. There was no reason for me to break my rules. It was greed and desire. I got caught up in the moment. I found myself with a trampoline and two pieces of clothing that fit well and were super comfy after a long, tiring, emotional week. I was in need of some caretaking, lunch and a cup of coffee, some sleep too, and instead I bought myself a pair of yoga leggings and a top. I got sucked into the trap of consumerism. I was raised in America and I live in NYC so it’s not all my fault, I have been bred to buy. Okay, I am just making excuses now. I will seriously consider returning the leggings.