Friday, June 17, 2016

Shopping advice

First of all, shopping is neither a hobby nor a vocation. It is a chore, and like all chores, it must be done, and it's not the worst idea to get all Mary Poppins over it and make the best of it. Nevertheless, a chore is something you don't want to be doing, which is taking away time from doing something you do want to be doing. Wanting to do chores, therefore, is a suspect behavior, aside from wanting to get them over with quickly so that you can do something else. Therefore, if you want to shop, there is something wrong with you.

There are exceptions to this. Shopping for any tech items, for instance, however little you may actually need them, is always entertaining, and should be considered an end in itself. In fact, not buying a piece of tech that you are particularly lusting over can be way more satisfying than buying it and wondering a week later what the hell was so good about it that you dropped eight hundred bucks without batting an eye. So we recommend that, if you go shopping for tech, you keep your hands in your pockets. Enjoy the experience, but do not make a commitment. This is the same advice we would give to sixteen-year-olds enjoying their first romance, for roughly the same reasons, if we were in the habit of advising sixteen-year-olds on their love lifes, which, I assure you, is a mug's game that the Coachean Life Coach will be steadily avoiding in this column. 

On the other hand, if you do find yourself in a store or market or whatever, through no fault of your own, we do advise that if you see something you want that is the slightest bit unusual, buy it. An iPhone will be around forever, and will in fact be upgraded a month after you buy yours, so you should think for a while about whether you really need yet another one. And just about every book ever published is available on Amazon (plus the longer you wait, the cheaper it might get), so think long and hard before plopping down a couple of Hamiltons because some clerk at Barnes and Noble is recommending the latest E. L. James book. But when you're talking about something unique, something you've never seen anywhere else, something that you had no idea that you wanted but the minute you see it you know you have to have it, buy it. If you don't, it won't be there next time you're looking. In fact, that should be your guiding principle: will you ever have a chance to buy this thing again? For instance, an usher's uniform from the 1939 New York World's Fair in a size that would fit maybe a ten-year-old, going for under a hundred bucks at a tag sale, will be gone in a second. It will never be seen again, no matter how thoroughly you search the corners of every collectibles shop and tag sale in America. Buy it the second you see it, Trust us on this. (Although if I had bought it, I have no idea what I would have done with it.)



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