You Can Do It!

Response to Sharon Begley’s “The Shopping Brain.”


Your cell phone alarm rings at 3:30am, and after you hit snooze three times, you are out the door and racing off. Where are you going? Target, of course. Though it is finally behind us, the memory of evil Black Friday still roams. People are still bragging about the clothes they bought, others gossiping over fights for a Handy Dandy toy — but the most talked about subject? How much they just charged to their credit card. But hey now, it’s Black Friday; it’s for Christmas. That is until the fact it will take you until next October to pay off that cashmere sweater set. Is there any hope for the shoppers of the world?

First, there is the emotional buyer. This person is usually driven by their emotion of the day. Broke up with a boyfriend of two years? She’ll most likely go to Macy’s and get a nice pair of leather boots and a Coach bag. Just promoted? She’ll splurge on a new dress and have a fancy dinner. They are so driven by how they feel, that the $1,300 bill doesn’t affect them. Let’s face it — both types used their credit cards. Who exactly walks around with $1,300 in their back pocket?

Secondly, the impulse buyer. They’ll be having a moderately good day, and when they pop into a store for a snack, it hits them: a bright yellow tag with bold letters saying “Buy one, get one free.” Next thing you know, she has four blenders (really though, four?) The buyer will lie through their teeth about gifting one, stocking up in case one breaks, or even saving it until Christmas though it’s April. The common factor here? That shiny plastic card.

Third, are the social shoppers. Social shoppers will spend more when they are will family or friends. They always ask others before buying, and somehow can’t make any decision by themselves. You phone also most likely blows up once a day from them sending you pictures from the dressing room.

Being a girl myself, growing up around my parents and watching them just pick something and come home with it is tantalizing. When I walk into a store and have cash, it is bargain shopping for everything — lower shelf food items galore, and etc. But walking in with a credit or debit card? All bets are off.

Handing over a $20 bill at the counter hurts your ego more than swiping a card. As humans, seeing something taken away forever just sucks. With channels such as QVC and HSN, where a payment is easy over the phone, you end up buying Snuggies for dogs when you don’t have any pets in the first place. That impulse comes in, no matter the type of shopper you are, right next to the convenience. No need to cut cards in half, but moderation is key here — especially for the cheapskates out there buying caskets from Walmart.