Online shopping is a weakness. In fact, that is exactly the procrastination method I was using before writing this column. Sometimes life is too overwhelming, and the most viable point of procedure is to stop what you are doing and look at pretty pieces of clothing that you may never own but can just imagine wearing. That is the best part of online shopping, isn’t it?
Well, perhaps if you are like me and never actually do any buying. Online shopping is all about the imaginative portion for me — imagining the picnic I could wear that blouse to, or the classy summer night gala that dress would work perfectly for. I wonder if — because the clothing itself is not tied to any reality (being in cyber space, as it is) — we ourselves are pushed into some hyper-reality where money and self-image are not problematic.
And then there is delusion of practicality. A recent example: a bike helmet. Rationale: I will absolutely ride my bike during the summer, and everyone knows safety comes first. Honest reason: That is adorable and turquoise lined with pink and I want it and how often do you think a bike helmet is cute, am I right?
I think you catch my drift. Online shopping can be as tempting as strolling past the pastry display in line at Starbucks. That being said, there is a certain self-satisfying resolution when you resist that temptation. Shaking off the desire to impulse-buy a pair of platform sandals affords the same pleasure as asserting, “You know what, I do not need a Whoopie Pie! Just a tall Pike’s Place, thank you very much!”
Or maybe there is nothing wrong with a little splurging every now and then. This is particularly enticing in lieu of the recent gorgeous weather, at which I gazed upon my dreadfully grey wardrobe with much dismay. It’s been too long since the weather begged for a bit of color. Buying a new spring dress for yourself is perhaps owed after an exhaustive month of school work and unwelcome snowstorms.
Some brands online have wisely caught on to the delusional nature of online-shoppers. Anthropologie even named one patterned frock on their website a “Pond Reflections Dress.” Seriously? As if I wasn’t already daydreaming about wearing it on a walk by the river, I am now fairly convinced that, upon buying this dress, I will experience a romantic self-discovery to rival Thoreau’s.
I am speaking in extremist terms here, but my point is made nonetheless. I think the impending summer vacation only exacerbates the situation. You have this gig lined up with this-and-that company, and by God you are going to be the snappiest-dressed summer intern they have ever seen. It’s good to have goals.
I apologize that this has been a somewhat schizophrenic meditation on the topic of online shopping more than anything. I honestly have no real solutions except for self-control and reassurance when it comes to shopping. That leather satchel or straw hat, or whatever it may be, are certainly not the keys to your success and happiness as an individual.
I mean, they wouldn’t hurt or anything, but for the love of God don’t waste away valuable time, whether on your laptop in lecture or in your dorm during a nice day, shopping for possibilities. Maybe treat yourself with a trip to the mall after finals and give yourself something to work for (if freedom for the summer isn’t enough).
Burritt is a member of the class of 2013.