Sunday, January 6, 2008

Confessions of a non-shopper

My name is Karina Fabian, and I don't like to shop.

There. I've said it. It's out in the open for all to see: I am an affluent woman who thinks spending hours in the Mall looking for that perfect sweater is second only to the experience of sitting in the waiting room, anticipating root canal. Or trying to work with Microsoft Office 2007--but nothing can really compare to that torture.

It's not that I have anything against getting new stuff, but I already have so much old stuff that adding to the menagerie feels...oppressive, somehow. It's even more true since we're in the military and need to pack, ship, unpack and put away the entire house every one to five years. Stuff means hassle. In fact, in our house, we go through a quarterly "culling." We get rid of one item in four or five. This mostly applies to clothes, books and toys, but somehow, we never run out!

My mode of shopping is this: wait until I need something. If it's technical, get Rob to research it on the Internet. Wemble for a couple of weeks about whether I really need it. Go to the store and buy it. Occasionally, I'll wander about the store, out of some misplaced feeling of guilt or obligation, I suppose, but otherwise, it's in
and out.

When I was in the Air Force and stationed in Japan, I had the chance to go to Korea for a conference with another (male) officer. Naturally, we were told we HAD to take an evening to shop the markets. Markets are a lot more fun than Malls, yet I could go into a stall, gaze about, decide it didn't interest me, and move on. My friend announced that he thought all women should shop like me.

There are two exceptions to my usual shopping style: when I need an outfit and when I'm shopping with the kids. I'm a very picky shopper about clothes and for some reason, my body seems to defy normal sizing--outfits are too revealing or too short, too tight in the wrong places or just look odd on me. So I can grab a dozen things off the rack and reject them all in the dressing room. Fortunately, my tastes are timeless, so most of my clothes are stylish even a decade later. Now if my body had just remained the same size as a decade ago...

My new size has nothing to do with kids--I got to 120 after my fourth was born, then put on 35 pounds after he turned two--but they have changed my shopping. Kids have needs and wants and in our house, money, so many times, we'd be on a shopping spree so they could spend allowance or gift money. I know they enjoy it, but two minutes in the toy aisle, I'm ready to bolt. They see the newest Pokemon Chibibananarokian playing figurine; I see a $10 piece of plastic that will be in two pieces, each in separate parts of the house, within a week.

I'm a very blessed woman. I don't lack for stuff, and I don't have the desire for more stuff. The only time this ever seems to be a problem is during the holidays, when my husband and family are tortured to find the perfect gift for the woman who doesn't want things.

I keep hoping they'll pool their funds and get me a PR firm. Or how about a housekeeper? That'd be nice.

Someone to keep track of the stuff we do have.

Karina Fabian writes fantasy and science fiction that seldom have anything to do with shopping. Check out her stuff at


Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Karina, I loved your post and how true. I am not a fan of shopping. Actually, I have to know what I'm buying, run in, buy it and run back out.

It's not that I'm afraid of people but searching and asking, "now will he/she like this" drives me up the wall.

Lea Schizas

Swimming Kangaroo said...

I hate shopping too, Karina, and especially hate sales days because the crowds drive me nuts. We have a Sales Tax Holiday here in Texas every year and everyone flocks to the stores to buy things sales-tax free. Everyone except me-- you couldn't catch me near a store on that day! Likewise I avoid outlet centers and clearance centers.

Internet shopping was made for someone like me-- I can find what I want and with a few strokes have it on its way without ever having to speak to anyone else! Although I'm usually the last person to embrace anything new I started internet shopping when it first became available. Nbow if I could just do internet exercise and internet eating, I might actually lose some weight!

Karina Fabian said...

I wish I could internet exercise, too.

The closest I can come to is to set my laptop on my ironing board and march while I type--which is what I'm doing right now!