I have been working my way through an emotional roller coaster created by one of those Life Disappointments we all experience. I took my time to understand the reasons and the flow of decisions that shot off in a different direction than the one I had hoped for and am moving on. The frustration components have proven to be sticky; however, so I turned to the healing therapies.

I went out and bought stuff.

On Wednesday, I picked up two pairs of White Sierra shorts on sale for $20 bucks from Campmor. I already have three. I like them because they don’t ride up when I move and they have three pockets that make them perfect for all the stuff I carry when walking Toby: dog treats, rolled-up newspaper plastic for poop bags, cell phone, and an air horn to scare away bears or the occasional aggressive, off-leash dog. (Sometimes I wonder if I should just drag the rolling suitcase down the street).

On Thursday, I stopped at Staples on my way home from work to buy ink for my printer and spotted a desk chair with arms and a red mesh back rest that looked like one of those comfortable (and expensive) ergonomic chairs, so I went over and sat in it like Goldilocks tasting the bears’ porridge. Having short legs make buying desk chairs a challenge but my feet touched the floor with this one, making it perfect. I spun it around to check the price: $99 plus $9.99 to have them put it together, which I would totally do, I thought, if I decided to buy it, which of course, I already had, thinking about the $100 my mother had given me for a Christmas gift 4 years ago for a new chair but I had spent the money on something else instead and all this time really needed a better chair. But then, a flash of bright green caught my eye and there on the other side of the sale display was a cheery chartreuse-backed one that clinched the deal.

While waiting for the guy to screw my new chair together, I drifted over to the pen display. Pens are to my adult self what candy counters were to my ten year-old self. They were featuring a new line of pens called Jetstream and two models were tethered to the cardboard desk so people wouldn’t stick them in their pockets and walk out of the store. People like me, I suppose, who have a “thing” about pens, though I have never stolen one that I know of. There was an inviting pad of blank paper in between so you could stand in front of the display and take the pens for a road test, which I did and filled up three pieces of the pad of paper trying to decide which one was too slippery or which one was too scratchy and which one was just right.
I did not buy the pens on Thursday, thinking the printer ink and the unplanned purchase of the desk chair were quite enough. But my pen addiction had been activated and on my way home from work on Friday, the car suddenly swerved off the highway and back into the Staples parking lot. I went in and bought a three-pack of the “black-infused-with-color” Jetstreams.

Nor was I done, apparently, because then I went over to the journal notebooks at the back of the store (the electronics get front and center stage) and picked out a hot pink, spiral, lined notebook instead of the somber black books I usually choose. I did not NEED a new notebook. I WANTED the PINK ONE, just like I WANTED the color pens. And then, being in a sucker mood, I rummaged around in the $1 displays in the front of the store near the cash registers and picked out three little plastic boxes that looked like miniature storage crates, complete with side clamps, in blue, pink and purple. I also chose four see-through round plastic bowls with screw caps, all perfect for tiny items like tacks or chocolate chips. I am not sure what I will use them for but I did not allow something like lack of purpose stop me. Besides, they were only a dollar each, a real bargain, so I will figure out the need after satisfying the want.

I can understand the desire to fill the hole inside, whatever that is for any of us, by going out to buy stuff. I don’t gamble away the family jewels, nor would I if we had any jewels to gamble. There is something in me that feels like an accomplishment, some click of a door that closes and says, dammit, I am not going to deny myself every pleasure just because the Big One didn’t work out.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the Mary Kay skin products I have been denying myself for a long time because they were pricey, and used them immediately to exfoliate the old and uncover the new. 
And this morning, Ken walked into the den where I was sitting on my chartreuse chair where I was writing and asked, “Where did you get those cute little boxes?”
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6 Responses to RETAIL THERAPY

  1. Good for you! We really need to treat ourselves once in a while. Love all your new stuff. Thank goodness that car knows how to swerve of its own accord and park in just the perfect spot.

    I don't know what it is but I have the same affliction with pens, pencils, notebooks and stationery in general. I used to love buying all the back to school supplies when I was a kid.

  2. DrSteggy says:

    I have a TON of those tiny boxes–they are great for model horse stuff. I have to make sure I avoid hat aisle in Staples or else I am all “I don't have that color yet!!”

    Staples used to sell these pencil boxes that were perfect for model horse riders too, but those have been discontinued. Now I want to go to Staples to see if there's a version of those little boxes that I can get a doll or two into. Argh.

    I'd avoid The Container Store if I were you. Mindblowing.

  3. You're my girl, DD!!! I did something similar a few weeks ago…went in for ink (two different printers) and walked out with ink ++ Have to be careful if Ed is near. He doesn't understand “shopping” (i.e. retail therapy). He is all about going into a store and buying what you need. Such a waste of good therapeutic time. So glad to learn that Jackie has same syndrome: Stationary Store Addiction Afflication. (SSAA)Love this post as with all your others!

  4. Don't let me get near Staples or Office Max! And recently, I went to Sam Flax in NYC – it was a trip to heaven! I love the chair. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself to some presents for no good reason. Retail therapy is cheaper than psycho-therapy most of the time.

  5. dlg says:

    Haven't visited the Oak in the Seed world in awhile, and what a post to lure me back in! I can see it as an installment in a column that I would look forward to reading every week.It would be no surprise that I have a similar story to share related to my pending job change. But I wouldn't dare share it in the wake of your wonderfully told tale. Hope you're still enjoying your purchases!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Haven't stopped in here in a long time but I can totally relate to the need to “fill the hole” with retail therapy….unfortunately, I tend to choose food instead. Still attempting to feel at home here in PA. Love the pictures and story of Toby. Be well

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