Unbuyer’s Remorse

It’s not even a secret anymore…I love the mall.
By nature I tend to be a hunter of products rather than a gatherer, but when you hang out with gatherers you tend to become one.
Here are some things I don’t like about the mall:
Too many weird people (people not exactly like me:),
Too much stuff (I hate stuff),
Too many smelly stores (scented soaps etc),
Not enough coffee shops (I hate standing in line),
Not enough sales (I hate paying full price).
My daughter needed something at the mall and was catching a ride with friends, but needed to be back at a certain time for basketball. I tried to keep the excitement out of my voice and piped up “Well, I guess I could pick you up, I need to go to the mall anyways…” in a nonchalant way.
Going to the mall presents only one difficulty: “How are we going to get there?” After that it’s easy, like turning on the TV, things sort of decide themselves after that. And by “decide themselves” I mean no one decides anything at all.
I would love to know the miles/per/purchase walked in a mall. I would also love to know the thoughts/per/hour generated by watching TV. One number would be very high and the other alarmingly low, but both are avid killers of Decision Making.
It’s funny that on our day off the boys and I will sometimes go to the mall with a general idea of “looking for shoes” or “want coffee”. It’s rare that we actually buy anything, but we still enjoy walking around, making sarcastic comments and “looking”. We somehow feel a sense of accomplishment in having gone and not purchased anything. Like we’re amazing at saying NO and sticking to our budget.
The truth is that in a certain mood the mall casts a spell when we’re there and paralyzes us into a No Think Zone. After awhile we get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of products and leave empty handed and emotionally exhausted.
There are other days when everything at the mall seems amazing and irresistible. We’re looking at something we think we like when panic sets in.
I have a strange theory that is completely unconfirmed about the training store employees receive. There is of course the usual skill base required along the lines of selling and customer service, but there is a rumour going around (from myself) that they receive another sort of training altogether:
Subliminal.
When we are in a certain insecure-must-be-cool frame of mind I believe the mall staff are fully capable of manipulating us into a panicked state by whispering something as they walk past that our ears don’t register: “If you don’t buy that NOW, you’ll never see it again!” This said in a strange, ominous sing-song defeats us quickly and we race to the checkout to prove that we control our own destiny.
It’s ridiculous that malls everywhere haven’t been overthrown, and that I’m the only one who knows about it, but maybe I’m just smarter than everyone else? Susceptible to manipulation? Yes. Smart enough to KNOW I’m being manipulated? Yes. I feel that this is worthy of praise.
So the boys and I stopped in Vans because I’m now obsessed with Vans shoes and I saw what I’d been waiting for my entire life: white high tops with a 66 on the back. I knew in that moment why I existed, even if I didn’t know what the 66 stood for, but their “buy one get the second on sale” policy threw me because I couldn’t find another pair that I liked. Ironic really.
My mother’s Irish side was screaming “BUY THEM YOU FOOL!” but dad’s Dutch “Fifty bucks? You know how much cheese you can buy for fifty bucks?” presented an appealing plea. I’m not sure why cheese other than I had cheese from the Amsterdam airport one time and thought “Hmmm. I guess the Dutch like cheese?”
My silly financially responsible dad got me into this habit of rarely buying anything the first time I see it, so I did what I was trained to do: I faked being good with money and left the mall. For the entire next week I ate, drank, and slept those white 66 shoes.
When I went back ready to purchase them the staff said smugly “I remember those shoes. Super cool. Some guy came in and bought every single pair of them for some company thing he was doing, even the shoes in the back.” And then in a creepy sing song beneath the register of my human ear “You should have bought them, now you’ll never know….”
I secretly know that no one buys all the sizes of white 66 Vans for a “company thing” because that’s ridiculous and I’m not an idiot…
But she was still right, now I’ll never know. I’m suffering from Unbuyer’s remorse and I’ll never make the same mistake again.
From now on I’m buying everything at the mall before I even have the chance to panic.
 I’ll never put myself through this kind of pain again.
Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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