DIARY OF AN ONLINE SHOPPER

He is a great companion. He is always there with me. He goes wherever I go. He helps me with cooking and fixing almost all my problems in a jiffy.  Whether I want to watch a movie, go to a particular place, I just take his help. He never gets tired of my shopping (you read it right- NEVER). Nor he raises an eyebrow whenever I talk or chat with anyone. My kids go gaga to see him, though I don’t like if they get close to him. He had been my saviour many times. I just cannot imagine my life without him. And, before you come to any conclusion, just hold your horses.

I am talking about my smart pal- my smart phone. Yeah, life has become hell lot easier since they have entered into our lives. No one did ever think that these smart phones would impact so much and will become so endemic, especially during this pandemic. 

So, my favourite apps would be the shopping ones which help me every now and then. Amazon, being the most sought after, for most of household shopping, then Flipkart; Myntra, Nykaa Fashion and Firstcry for exclusive clothing. Nykaa for make-up and cosmetics and 1mg for medicines. So, in short, my world revolves around online shopping. The best part of shopping online is that you have the ease of choosing many products, shop instantly or build up your cart till you are ready to pay. You also have the access to the other apps and you can compare the products and deals and discounts too.

So, for me online shopping is simply the best choice and my favourite pastime too. I am also an e-window shopper. Who doesn’t like window shopping after all! Wink! Wink!

Stay safe and shop online.

THE TEMPTING TEMPTATIONS

These are ubiquitous, available in all shapes, sizes and colours and are really difficult to handle. I am talking about the irresistible ‘temptations’.

Every person on this earth is tempted by something or the other. Temptation to gratify passion needs, to be superior, to drive fast, to earn more, to go ahead in the rat race, to beg, to steal and to be gluttony. Temptations are within each one of us and it is very difficult to resist them.

Kids get tempted to buy toys, which is natural. They will shout, scream or even lie down in the mall if you don’t get that toy.  But, as parents, we know that we cannot give in to their tantrums every time. Similarly, having a temptation isn’t that bad. It is ok within limits. You find an empty road, get tempted to hit the accelerator, but you should know when to hit the brake and not jump the red light.

I remember there was a friend of mine who was unable to resist himself from working out. Usual workout is ok, but it seemed his motto in life had become ‘go to gym unto death’. Before work, after work, between work, he was always tempted to hit the gym. The result- his social life had gone down to zilch.

Recently, I got myself a new smart phone. No, it wasn’t a temptation because my old phone was falling sick every now and then and after more than 3 years, it was time to bid it adieu. Since I have a major online shopping temptation, I have an average of 6-8 online shopping apps in my phone. I shortlist things and put them in the cart. However, even after putting the items in the cart, I rarely confirm the order straight away. Instead, I wait for a day or two, and then check if I really need that item or not. In this way, I save myself from being labelled as a spendthrift!

As quoted by Oscar Wilde- “I can resist everything except temptations”, resisting temptations is a tricky job. But, it’s not impossible either. Don’t resist yourself; just remember your permissible limits and don’t get too tempted by the tempting temptations!

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

I was going through a rough patch of my life and had nothing better to do. Had exploited all PC games, was bored off being creative, wanted to do nothing, even my favourite pastime, book reading too, seemed a tedious task. Nothing was exhilarating. Nothing appeared to excite me anymore. I was sitting idle when I decided to clean my room. Suddenly I realised, my cupboard was full of books, and all were kept haphazardly. So, I decided I needed to buy a bookshelf.

My aim was to purchase a bookshelf with as little nuisance as possible. I decided to peep into stores right from the sitting room, the solution was none other than online shopping. After a lot of browsing and surfing, I was able to settle for small bookshelf made in Sheesham. It was some Rs 7,500 and looked antique. I was taken by its beauty but scared to buy things online as many of my friends and family have told you are prone to fraud. After a lot of contemplation, I decided it was too good to let it pass, and I ordered it. It was delivered within a week, and I was more than satisfied with the product. And from there began two years of being a shopaholic.

imageI would buy anything and everything. From silk sarees to cutlery and from footwear to cosmetics, I bought everything online. It seemed like the most hassle-free way to get high. You can sit in the sanctuary of your air-conditioned room, leisurely browse through millions of merchandise and get it home delivered. If not satisfied they would Happily come and take it back, and get you more stuff or refund your money. What’s better than that?

My credit card became my best friend, and I went on a frenzied shopping spree. Frequenting each and every store once a day, extracting the best discounts and buying the thing for half the given rate was my dopamine rush, making me feel happy for merely a day. Next day I was back for more, finding additional reasons to buy unwanted stuff. My mother knew we didn’t need half of the things we bought, but she knew I was trying to beat depression. I would cherish the arguments I had with websites on return/refund, and more than once I have made deals that cost me money and stress. But it was all incredibly engaging.

I even told my mother not to buy grocery and bakery stuff from shops, I will do it online. Fruits and vegetables too were bought online by me. I wouldn’t say the experience was bad. Many times I got B1G1 deals and saved hard cash and got deep discounts. Beating the MRP by more than 50% was thrilling. Word spread that I am an expert at online shopping and I made countless purchases for friends and family. Gifting became an everyday habit, as it gave me a chance to shop. I would gift people things out of line and without occasion. My name became notorious with customer call executives of almost all online shopping stores.

image.jpegMy cabinets were brimming with my purchases, there was no space left. Websites made me premium member owning to my obsession of buying more. Shawls, Scarves, Sandals👠, Cosmetics💄, Perfumes🏺, Toiletries🏷, Creams & Bode Care💅🏻, Shirts👔, Sarees💃, Dresses👗Junk Jewelery💍, Bags👜, Watches⌚️, Belts, Shades🕶, Furniture, Crockery🍽, Curios, Show Pieces, Photo Frames⛲️, Paintings🌄, Curtains, Bed Sheets, Cushions & Cushion Covers, Lamps🔮, Potpourri🎊, Candles🕯, E Gadgets📱, you name it and I bought it. I even bought kids clothing though there are no kids in my home, forcefully gifting them to nieces and nephews. It became like OCD with me. I couldn’t quit it. I was addicted.

Then suddenly one day I realised, that all my excuses and pretexts to shop have ended. I can buy nothing more, come what may. There was no scope left to buy even a needle. I was now just buying things for the heck of it. I was scared, I was scared of myself and this madness I acquired. And I took a very tough decision. That I won’t shop, come what may. I won’t be named a psycho or nutcase. People were already laughing at me behind my back. It wasn’t easy. Like all additions, it was taxing to quit. There was this urge to go back and spend few bucks and buy some dopamine release. I took a few steps, you can take them too if you feel you are into compulsive shopping.

Ask Yourselves

1. Do you really need it? Not if you want it but if you need it?
2. Can you do without it for some more time without any trouble?
3. Will it enrich your day-to-day living experience in any way except that one single moment of spending?
4. Is your gifting called for? Is there any occasion? Any need to reward?
5. Is the B1G1 offer worth it? Are you going to use it?
6. Are you shopping because of a fight, argument, anger or disappointment?
7. Are you going to lie about what you bought and how much you spent on it?

image.jpegIf you find the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then sure go for it. In my case, it was a big NO. But like I said, it’s like an itch, you have to scratch, or it won’t let you rest. So, I had to take some strict measures.

1. I gave my credit cards to my mother and told her to hide them(though I had numbers memorised, it helps, asking is humiliating)
2. I kept only cash on me and made a pledge not spend above 1,000 each month.
3. I cleared my browsing history and unsubscribed to all emails from shopping sites.
4. I made a list of the monthly things I personally need.
5. I discouraged everyone who asked me to shop for them.(they took it as personal hit)
6. Whenever I had the urge to shop, one that was radically driven, I would indulge in eating chocolates.
7. I told myself that if I want to burn money, better give it to a needy, that would be much more satisfying.

We need to realise that just like an itch if they don’t scratch it sooner or later the itch will go away. Buying a whole bunch of stuff makes you feel better about yourself. Some might argue it’s really just an attempt to bolster your self-esteem. Like other addictions, shopping fills some kind of void. The difference between compulsive buying and other addictions is that compulsive buying is condoned by society. It’s important to understand what you’re really shopping for, what are the underlying authentic needs — Are you shopping because you’re lonely? Are you shopping to celebrate? — and finding other ways to meet those pressing needs

As for me, I hate shopping now, and I haven’t shopped anything in more than one year. My mother needs to buy some stuff real bad, I tell her to go out and buy. My relatives provoke me to go to those old sites just once for their sakes, but I say “no sir”. My friends hope that I will be back to gifting and giving once again. I am happy, I don’t need to shop to be happy anymore. I found a better purpose. I wanna be a writer. I can proudly say I am Shopping Free. 😊🙏🛍

Stay Content!

WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST GOOGLE

It was our first ever on-site stay. My husband, Anuj, a software techie, was given a project in Shanghai, China. Language barrier- the first concern popped in my mind, the moment he broke the news to me. Staying and surviving was going to be tough, but “we will manage”, Anuj assured me.

Being an internet freak, I thought of using Google Translate for all the communication in the foreign land. And, voila, things were so much easier. We were using Google Baba almost everywhere.

On one of our shopping days in Walmart, I had this printed list of the commodities to be needed, in English as well as Chinese. We were looking for a conditioner, but got confused between the similar bottles containing shampoo. Since everything was written in Chinese, except the brand names, which was in English thankfully, it was hard to differentiate which bottle contained shampoo and which one conditioner.

Tired of playing who’s who, we approached one of the staff members and pointed at the item on the list- Conditioner. He took us to the electronics section of the store and we got a bit baffled. A moment later, Anuj laughed at me, saying your list did not mention which conditioner- Hair Conditioner or Air Conditioner! I was bewildered. We had a good laugh and I sheepishly thanked the staff member. I went back and picked up the bottle that was kept vice-versa of the shampoo bottle.

Ahh, victory!

From then onwards, I always cross check to ensure that I have asked the exact question from the Google.

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Author’s Bio: Preeta Bhatnagar is a homemaker and a mother. Professionally, she comes from a diverse background, having experience in jewelry designing, merchandising and teaching pre- primary children. Academically, she holds Masters in Commerce and Business Administration, along with PG Diploma in Pre-Primary Education. Writing is her hobby and apart from articles, she also likes to compose poems.