I am a recreational shopper. I enjoy going to malls and trying on clothes. I love going to home décor stores. I get super psyched by specialty shops, farmers’ markets, and craft fairs, especially at Christmas time. I practice shopping the way some people practice their golf swing. To me, shopping is entertainment, a leisure pursuit.
When Max moved in with me after we dated for several years, I made him promise that we would keep “dating” and go someplace fun at least once a week. Shopping counted. It worked out pretty well because Max is a very tolerant shopper. He actually enjoys trailing around behind me in a mall or craft fair. He is a good fan and cheers me on when I make purchases. If he does tire of waiting for me to try on potential new outfits, he sits on a chair by the fitting room and surfs the internet on his phone. All in all, he is a very satisfactory shopping companion.
The only thing is, he really doesn’t get my concept of “museum shopping.” He doesn’t always understand that I can like things I see while shopping, but don’t necessarily have any desire to own them. For me, shopping isn’t really about the acquisition of things. I certainly do my share of buying and continue to do my part to keep the economy strong, but the real pleasure in shopping is just seeing new things in different surroundings. I get exercise while I watch people, admire the merchandise, and appreciate the store’s environment and decoration. It is almost like observing a microcosm of pop culture. Max always seems vaguely deflated if we end a shopping expedition without purchasing anything, as if he has somehow failed in his mission. For me, the absence of multiple shopping bags digging into my arms does not mar my appreciation of the excursion.
One of the reasons I think Max doesn’t appreciate the whole “museum shopping” thing is that he takes gift-giving very seriously. Once he has allocated money into his budget for my Christmas and birthday presents, he is like a meerkat protecting the mob (yes, that is what a group of meerkats is called; I looked it up on Wikipedia). Every time I admire something, he pops his head up and suggests that he buy it for me for the next gift-giving occasion on the docket. That money burns a hole in the present budget until he can purchase something. Then, once he has purchased something, he budgets money for the next gift-giving occasion and the process starts all over again. Because of this propensity of his, I think I will be opening my Christmas present for 2020 this year. It mystifies him that I can be so excited over whatever I am admiring, but still not want him to buy it for me. I just always want to keep shopping. You never know when there might be something better or somewhere better to buy a gift.
Speaking of a better place to buy a gift, I don’t really consider a trip a vacation unless the activity schedule includes shopping. I usually don’t buy a lot of souvenir things, but I do like to buy “regular” stuff while on vacation. If a buy an article of clothing or piece of jewelry or Christmas ornament or home décor item while I am on vacation, there is the added benefit that I will always remember that experience when I use the item back at home.
Then there is online shopping. My mother was Amazon.com’s best friend. It was a rare day when she did not receive multiple boxes from the Big Box Store In The Sky. Max likes the purchasing without benefit of human contact that online shopping provides. I’m not a huge fan. Because of my poor visual reasoning skills, I have a hard time converting the pictures and descriptions on a website to what an item will actually be like in real life. In regular stores, I can look and listen and smell and touch to my heart’s content. Yes, my mother did teach me not to touch, but it didn’t take. I’m careful, but I always touch.
I do appreciate the efficiency and cost effectiveness of online shopping when I know exactly the item I want. I regularly order hard-to-find protein bars and the Costco brand of over-the-counter sleeping pills from Amazon. Cyberspace buzzes between Amazon and my kindle on a regular basis. However, I find that online purchasing misses exactly what I like best about shopping… the exploration (that visual reasoning thing makes searching for items online unsatisfactory for me), the exercise (I don’t really call rhythmic keystroking exercise, do you?), the sensory experience (you can’t touch the merchandise in online stores) …. and, for the most part, the excitement.
I’ve just written over 800 words about shopping. They say everyone needs a hobby when he or she retires. I think I’ve decided shopping qualifies.
Do you think shopping qualifies as a hobby? What hobbies are you pursuing in retirement? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy yourself something nice today!
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