I hate shopping.
I have never, ever been able to understand why the majority of women see shopping as a good thing – not only “not a bad thing”, but as an actual, positive, indulgent experience. Lots of women speak of “retail therapy” as something that will cheer them up and generally improve their moods and even their lives. This is a completely foreign concept to me. I not only hate shopping, I loathe it, detest it, dread it, and avoid it.
Now, perhaps I would feel a bit differently if I actually had any money to spend. As it is, when I am driven to shopping out of sheer necessity, I have to part with hard-earned cash that could have been saved up in order to buy food, or coffee, or train tickets. These are the important things, you see. Clothes and shoes are annoying essentials, and if it was OK to go without them, it would make life so much better, in my opinion.
I hate crowds of people, I hate looking for clothes when I have no idea what’s nice and what will make people snigger at me, I hate parting with money for things that don’t interest me in the slightest, I hate getting all warm and sweaty and uncomfortable through trying on twenty different garments in a cramped changing cubicle, I hate trudging around with armfuls of bags, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
In addition to this, I have not got the faintest idea why the majority of women are obsessed with shoes. Shoes are shoes. You need them to protect your feet. That is all. For the past year, I have happily worn sandal-type walking shoes in nice weather, a pair of trainers in the rain, and – for winter in Estonia – a pair of welly boots. That was the extent of my shoe ownership. Given the choice between buying several pairs of shoes in various colours and styles, or having enough food for several months, I don’t really have to think about it for very long at all.
I have never been very materialistic, so perhaps this explains my lack of enthusiasm for shopping. I do not wish to amass more Stuff. Unfortunately, since I have been wearing only the clothes that can fit into hand luggage for a whole year, the time has come to find some more clothes. A teacher cannot, I suppose, turn up to school every day in a pair of sandals, three-quarter lengths, and a Friends t-shirt.
And so today The Sister and I went shopping. It was awful. The only reason that I survived was the fact that I insisted on coffee and muffins in Starbucks first. I now have some shoes (cheap, sensible shoes, mind you. Nothing in the world will make me buy expensive, pretty, high-heeled, or stylish shoes), some trousers, some teacherish shirts and tops, and a pair of jogging bottoms for my PE classes. Oh dear. The less I think about teaching PE, the better.
By the time I emerged from the changing room and paid for all my purchases, I was ready to collapse. The whole experience is a nightmare, from start to finish (after the Starbucks part, obviously). I also have an annoying tendency to think of my money in terms of how long it took me to earn it. This means that even when the price I’ve paid for a huge selection of clothing and shoes is very reasonable when compared to the amount spent by people who regularly pay a hundred quid for a pair of shoes or sixty for trousers, it seems horrendous to me. The whole lot cost me just over a hundred pounds. In my head, this was quickly translated to “about 14 articles about poison ivy”, which was translated to “about two days of solid, boring work”. Ugh. I’m telling you, it took a huge amount of effort to smile brightly at the cashier as I handed that over.
Still. I am ready now. That’s my shopping done for another year, methinks!
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