A pair of jeans. The Ghostface mask from the “Scream” horror franchise. Stickers. All of these are seemingly unrelated things. So what’s the common denominator? Each of these items has recently found its way into my online shopping cart, and none of them even came from the same website. To put it quite simply, I have a newfound obsession with online shopping, and for the sake of my bank account, it cannot continue.
From where did these buying binges arise? Well, last year, when I lived in a Wilbur dorm, the burden of biking all the way to Tresidder or the post office to pick up my packages did wonders for curbing my consumer cravings. After one too many unfortunate experiences of getting a package (only to realize that it wouldn’t fit in my bike basket) and awkwardly trying not to crash, fall or drop everything on my way back, I was fed up. Even if I knew that what I ordered would come in a small box, sometimes I just didn’t feel like having to wait in that package pickup line. As a result, my impulsivity was tamed, and my purchases were usually limited to that which I needed, or at least, that which I really, really wanted.
Now, the game has changed. I live in a house, which means that I can send every single package straight to the front door. And I don’t even have to wait around for the email that tells me I can pick it up from FedEx. As the whipped cream and cherry on top of my shopping sundae, there’s an angel in the house who sorts everyone’s mail, so I don’t even have to look for it amongst all the other deliveries. This basically all adds up to me unnecessarily buying things and justifying my decisions because of occasional free shipping and decent sale prices (though to be fair, I do stand by the aforementioned Ghostface mask purchase as part of a Halloween costume in the works).
I’ve become envious of the phrase “shop ’til you drop,” because at least that cliché comes with a guaranteed end – the inability to physically carry on. I don’t have to “drop.” Because I don’t even have to move. As long as my fingers can keep typing and my track pad keeps working and my mind can keep thinking of things that I want, then I can, and probably will, continue.
Yes, I know. This problem is entirely within my hands and is of my own creation. No one is forcing me to buy any of these things. It’s just that stopping is so hard. I tell myself that I’m not going to buy something, and then the thought of it floats around in the back of my mind for a few days until I give in. And I always give in. But if I don’t stop soon – considering we’re not even halfway through this quarter – my bank statements will have me in literal tears.
I honestly can’t even think of a solution to propose for this. Anything I think of can also be easily undone by me as soon as I decide that I just have to have some funny onesie that I find on Amazon for rallying purposes. Still, I guess the first step is always admitting that you have a problem. So, perhaps all of my other jeans are just fine. Perhaps I could have created a Halloween costume from things I already have. Perhaps I don’t really need any stickers for my new water bottle. And perhaps, next time my cursor is hovering over the “Add To Cart” button, I will remember how I felt while writing this article.
Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’ stanford.edu.