[First picture is a photo of Cora Harrington’s Book, In intimate detail.]
It’s been 4 years now, that I was introduced to the concept of Black Friday. Before that, big sales for me were happening in July and January. Although I didn’t grow up in North America, it didn’t take me long to appreciate the “discount” culture. Quickly after Halloween, mailboxes are crambling under “early” discount codes, suggesting that you shouldn’t wait for the big day because stocks are limited. From that point, we all know that the annual shopping race has started.
When this was all new to me, I admittedly found it kind of exciting. With my small student budget, every saving seemed good to take. But as the time went by, I eventually realized that Black Friday, was mostly an occasion to buy things I couldn’t justify buying at another time of the year. Not only because of the price, but also because those things were far from essential.
Something surprising I noticed when I started shopping the sales in Canadian stores was that on the receipt, you can usually see that sentence : “You saved xxx $ today!” .
This simple sentence, although completely illogical, has the power to give customers a certain satisfaction, and release them from guilt. But let’s be honest, nobody saves by spending money.
That being said, we are all sensitive to words like “biggest sale of the year” or “last chance”. That can trigger a sense of urgency. It feels like we simply have no choice, or else, the chance is gone for ever. A chance of having a little more happiness in our lives. To feel a void, I imagine. One might say it’s not that deep, but I believe it is.
It’s quite hard to escape this feeling, if you are already a fashion addict, or actually any type of addict. Nobody is safe from that feeling. You might prefer technology or decoration. Everything is supposedly sold for a steal. Who would want to miss that?
Now if we think about it, all of this also creates anxiety. A lot of anxiety. Because we all have some type of debts, don’t we? Some type obligation. Those things that might get worst after the holidays, no matter how much we saved doing shopping.
One can argue that this anxiety isn’t worth it. As a person who is naturally anxious, I really don’t need anything to add to my struggle. Last year, the Black Friday and Holidays season were just too much. I felt like I was going to vomit all these newsletters and Instagram ads.
I know we all need to eat and pay the bills, brands and customers alike. But there was no way I would let myself get harassed via my own phone, my own social media feed.
I don’t watch TV for 6 years now but somehow I am seeing publicity even more than before. It’s suffocating. And it took me a while to realize that I didn’t have to shop passively. I don’t need to wait and see “what will be cheaper on Friday 23th”.
Once I understood that though, things felt more bearable. So here’s a list of things that help me and might help you going through this time of the year shopping-related-anxiety free.
♦ Don’t subscribe to every single newsletter you come across. Choose wisely. I assure you, you won’t be missing deals, because if you really need something, there is always a way to find it for an appropriate price for your budget, any time of the year.
♦Don’t hesitate to unfollow spammy brands. You can always re-follow them when you feel ready to see their content again.
♦If you need to buy Holidays presents at that time of the year, then establish a list beforehand. Do not wander about and get lost on the internet. In my opinion, lists are the the best way to be efficient and only spend what is reasonable for your budget. Sometimes we have no idea what to gift someone and we think internet will give us inspiration. It’s a trap though. If you want to buy a present to a loved one, inspiration can come from a conversation, a movie, a song. Memories. The internet isn’t much smarter than you.
♦Now if you want to buy yourself a present, I believe having a list (yes, I love lists) of things you really want to own with an order of priority can really help. Ideally, this list should be done before you start being harassed by publicity, in order to be as unbiased as possible. Then if one of the items listed happens to be on sale and fit into your budget, maybe you should go for it. The list is meant to narrow your options to things you really desire and not things that feel sparkly because they are on sale.
If your chosen items aren’t on sale maybe you could keep your money, save it and afford them later.
♦ Lastly, during this overwhelming time of the year, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Free-time, quality time, away from the noise of everything else. Try to remember that you are worthy of the best, but the best isn’t necessarily material. You deserve love, respect and more. You are capable of creation. You are complete already, with or without your belongings. Take the time to breath and enjoy yourself.