Since I’ve gotten to college, online shopping has stolen my money like no other form of discretionary spending. But tell me, reader, how can I resist buying clothing from these virtual stores?
Depraved from the regular mall trips I took at home, and egged on by the constant “50 percent Off” or “Free Shipping” discounts that seem to never leave online stores are the perfect trap for someone who follows several Fashion Week Instagram accounts and anguishes over how she can’t afford Rihanna’s FentyXPuma Line.
What is it about online shopping that makes it so appealing in college? Certainly the idea of ordering clothing from your laptop, cuddled up in bed instead of dressing up and going to a store, is appealing. But how do you know if something will fit you? Some sites have a very limited size range, and some sites don’t list the material the clothing is made out of, leaving you to guess what your item will feel like.
Half the fun of shopping in the mall is groping every bit of merchandise in sight. The tactile and atmospheric pleasure of the mall is absent when one online shops. So online stores make up for it with eye-aching visuals and photoshopped pictures of dyed-hair models.
My running theory is that because you’re buying items from a screen, there’s a strong level of dissociation during online shopping. On some level, it’s kind of a game. There’s a pleasure in finding the discounts, looking at the special price that’s often a different color text, and seeing all of your hand-clicked items tidily lined up in your virtual shopping cart.
The reality of the money you spent is only fully realized when the clothes are picked up, the plastic packaging is ripped open, and the tags are torn off. At that point, though, it’s almost irreversible. The effort of sending something back seems like three times the effort needed to purchase those items of clothing. And sometimes because an item was on sale, they’re non-refundable.
This is obviously not the case for everybody. Some people have this amazing thing called self-control when it comes to clothes. But for me at least, what I dress myself in is a big part of who I am. I love finding new, interesting things to wear. And it doesn’t help that a lot of my online purchases get complimented in person.
I guess I should be happy that I’m not into buying over-expensive things like antique furniture or risky stocks. But as a generation growing up in an increasingly streamlined world, where both groceries and cars can be bought without having to leave home, I feel like a new skill has to be taught. We have to gain a strong sense of self-control. It’s not anymore the case of just not going to the mall — it’s a case of not pressing a couple of buttons on a screen to get to a website full of temptations.
So, reader, if you find any classes I can take to increase my strength in these trying times, track me down.