The secret? Don’t buy anything.
That seems obvious, but when you love shopping a little too much, and the rush of a deal even more, not buying anything during Cyber Monday is near impossible.
I wish I could say that I abstained from a shopping frenzy because I was thoughtful about my actions. Instead it was a series of (fortunate) unfortunate events.
I made it through Black Friday buying only the things I had on my wish list. My goal was controlling and curbing unnecessary shopping. If an item - researched, priced checked, and assessed as a need - stayed on the list for at least a couple of months, I would consider purchasing it. If I was ultimately going to buy something, why not get a deal?
My working wish list was my attempt to ensure I didn’t go crazy accumulating things I didn’t need and ultimately didn’t really want - a mistake I’ve made repeatedly in the past. However, by the time Cyber Mondayrolled around, several items and companies had made their way onto my list, ready to be scoped out and scooped up.
Reflecting back, it’s like a junkie wanting one more hit. Or perhaps more like a Lay’s potato chips binge. You can never just have one, right?
So Monday came, emails started pouring in with deals, I started googling for specific deals, and soon enough I had a set of beautifully curated tabs with intended purchases. Holding on to the tiniest shred of thoughtfulness, I figured I would reconsider each one carefully to make sure I really “needed” it. Rationalization at its best since I knew full well I didn’t need a single thing.
Then I noticed that one website wasn’t honoring the free shipping offer. By the time they had the decency to post a limp reply to Facebook messages letting customers know no more free shipping (after deleting and ignoring comments), I was done (with them). The experience was soured.
Then I noticed a major online beauty company I had purchased an expensive product from on Black Fridaywas offering an even better Cyber Monday deal on the same product. After spending an hour on the phone when I should’ve been eating dinner, to figure out if I could get a refund, I was done. Every single time I called, the call would drop after several minutes on hold. Finally, I got some canned email response that basically said, “Tough". I get that promotions come and go, but offering a better deal later on during the same weekend, especially when that weekend is known for sales seems like outright duping customers. The experienced was soured.
My energies then turned to research. Site A has 25% off, but not free shipping unless I buy more items. Site B has 30% off, and free shipping, but only on some of the items I wanted from Site A. Should I buy more to save? Is it really saving? What if I buy some items from Site B and find the others on Site C, which has 10% off? I thought that shopping this weekend for long sought after items would be fun, and yet the whole experience was making me anxious and stressed. I became too preoccupied with the “deal”. I realized it was never about the product, it was about buying.
Defeated, I resolved to buy the one item that was worth it, that I use every day, and that never goes on sale. But by the time I switched to my last tab, it was sold out.
At the end of it all, I was a little angry. Okay, maybe a lot angry. But I’m trying to go back to the sense of peace I first discovered after decluttering my life. Things only provide temporary and very fleeting happiness, if you can call it happiness at all. After checking off a couple of major wishes from the list, I want to take a step back and do a no spend month. In some ways Black Friday was my last hurrah, the chocolate cake before the diet, but you gotta start somewhere…