Friday, July 29, 2011


I can't say exactly when it happened, but at some point this former teenage mallrat has become unable to handle the mall. There are too many people, too many signs, too many folks in kiosks trying to straighten your hair and give you hand lotion samples. I find it completely overwhelming.

Another problem is that when I get to the mall, I understand how my closets got so full of monsters (and by that I mean crap I don't need) in the first place.

First, there is the pervasive message that if you buy a little more, you can save money. For example, buy one get one half off deals mean that you have to buy a second item that you were probably not planning to get, otherwise you miss out on a great deal. Did you ever end up buying a second pair of shoes that you didn't really love, just because you knew you would get them half price? And God forbid that you chose to only buy one anyway, the poor saleslady will give herself a hernia trying to convince you of the folly of your ways. Similarly, there is the "one is $4.50 but you can get three for $10" set up. You definitely spend less on each item, but in the end you spend $10 instead of $4.50. Did you need three tubes of lip gloss? Are you going to use them all, or will you find the extra two in a closet somewhere years later and toss them?

Then there's the mall deal that almost draws out my inner Clutterella every time: the purchase-with-purchase. This is like my kryptonine- there must be some marketing concept to say that if you offer to "let" someone buy something, instead of just plain old selling it to them, they will want it even more. I'm pretty much a big sucker for this kind of thing, and I must not be the only one.

Case in point: today I went to the Bath and Body Works to buy a gift for someone. I can actually resist B&BW gimmicks pretty well because I have really gotten away from wearing anything scented (not a political stance or anything, just a personal preference). I got to the store and the friendly sales clerk immediately began to offer helpful suggestions, then brought me a big bag to carry my items around in, then thought of other things I could get to add to my gift. He and the lady at the register told me about this great deal: if I spent $30, I could purchase this Exclusive Tote Bag with over $75 worth of products for only $20.  My total purchase was $27, but the cashier made sure to let me know that if I only spent $3 more, I could "get" (BUY!) the Exclusive Tote Bag. If I had followed her advice, I would have walked out of the store having spent at least $50 and with a bag of products I really didn't want or need. So helpful!

So if you are wondering why your closets are packed full and you can't seem to accumulate any savings, you can probably blame at least some of the problem on the marketing geniuses at your local shopping mall and the pushy helpful salespeople who make sure you are getting the best deals.

I have told you before that I am not trying to be a minimalist. I do still shop sometimes, and occasionally I find myself at the mall. Luckily, we have been on this awesome get-rid-of-the-closet-monsters journey together. Now that I have taken the time and effort to get rid of so many things I didn't really need, it's much easier to resist buying more stuff that I (still) don't really need. Most of the time anyway.

Thank you for making it all the way through this rant. So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and don't forget that, no matter what the sales clerk tells you, it is impossible to save money by buying more stuff.

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