Monday, September 19, 2011

can't take it back

I had a setback today. I spent $500 on something I didn't need.

What I bought doesn't matter, though I'll tell you for the sake of clarity: I bought bras.

They're very high end and they were 25% off and they fit me noticeably better than what I've been wearing and they even come with matching panties, but I didn't even really want them.

I bought them, I fear, because I was too embarrassed not to.

Isn't that stupid?

I had visited a local shop for the first time. Their sale was advertised on TV so I decided it was an opportune time to refresh that part of my wardrobe. After all, it's been three years since I bought the ones I own now and one of them has already fallen apart and been discarded.

I tried on two dozen bras, each one brought to me by the saleswoman. I didn't look at a single price tag - because I couldn't see them (the change room was lit with dark 'romance' lighting, for one thing) - so it was only once I'd made my selections that I asked about the cost. Ninety-nine dollars for one, $129 for the next and $229 each for the remaining two - but those were 50% off so if I picked one I could get the other for 'free', essentially.

I've never seen $100 bras before, let alone $200 bras. As I stood there stunned, trying to think myself to 'no', someone offered to tally the cost. When I heard the total I considered what that would leave available on my credit card and the answer made it easy to say no to the buying-them-all option, but I still couldn't openly say no to everything.

Even as I moved to process my credit card to pay for the first two bras I was telling myself I could stop - should stop - but I didn't. It was nearly an out-of-body experience, watching myself act and feeling the shock as I observed myself still moving.

As I waited for the approval to show on the screen I saw the store's notice about layaway purchases.

I asked, 'could I do that with the other two bras, the $229 ones?'.

Yes, I could.

And so I did. I put down $60 for a deposit and have committed to paying the remainder within 30 days.

Why? I have no idea whatsoever.

I read another notice while I was waiting: no returns, only exchanges and store credits. No opportunities for buyer's remorse there.

I'm disappointed - to say the least - that I couldn't act on the voice in my head. It has something to do with not being prepared to say no. I believe if I'd seen just one price tag in the shop before heading to the change room, I could have spent the time in there making real decisions about what I wanted to do. At the counter, without the advance knowledge I apparently needed, I was embarrassed to make the decision - the right one - in front of the staff. For some reason, I cared about what they thought of me.

I am aggrieved that I've done this. I've set my financial goals back at least a month. I don't even feel excited about my purchases, though I have admired myself in the mirror a few times since getting home and changing out my old bra for a new one.

Rather than self-flagellate, however, I'm determined to use this day to prevent another. I'll remember how silly my actions were and use that understanding to refuse to make the same mistake again.

In the meantime ... that was definitely stupid. Really, really stupid.


  1. Here's what you do. Next time you sit down and work on a budget, factor in an $8.00 underware expense. Now, make those bras last 5 years and you're perfectly within your boundaries. Problem solved!

  2. What a fantastic solution! Takes the guilt away and allows me to replace them when I've saved up enough.