Posted by: navalanche | December 30, 2009

I succumb to peer pressure

I continue to try to convince myself that it IS possible to stop at a thrift store and purchase nothing.  It’s harder than it sounds but I am building up a slight resistance to my vice.  I stop at the stores less often and about 20% of the time, I leave without making a purchase.  But when I am with my sister Kat, the odds plummet to zero.  I always make a purchase when I am with her.  Kat knows what I can’t resist.  And as long as I make a purchase, I think it makes her feel better about her thrift store habit.

Recently, Kat and I went shopping together.  We planned on stopping at the post office and grocery store.  Of course, our route passed by a thrift store.  And of course, we HAD to stop.  And as we wandered down the aisles, I reminded myself that I did not need to purchase anything.  My confidence soared as I neared the checkout with empty hands.  Confidence was high…..I could do it!  And then I spied……the LAMP.

It should have been in the back of the store with the furniture.  It wasn’t supposed to be there nestled between the dishware.  I was admiring its art glass shade when Kat found me.

Kat:  “Find something you like?”

Me:  “It’s pretty but I already have a few of these.”

Kat:  “Not like that one though.  It has a really nice shade.”

We bantered back and forth.  Kat insisting that I purchase the lamp while I maintained that I did not need it.  Our discussion continued and eventually we attracted the attention of the manager Diane who decided to help by taking Kat’s side in the debate.  The two of them produced reason after reason why I should have the lamp.

Kat:  “It’s pretty.”

Diane:  “It’s cheap.”

Kat:  “You know you want it.”

Diane:  “You deserve something special.”

Kat:  “It’s small, it will fit anywhere.”

Diane:  “It’s for a good cause.”

Kat:  “I want to buy it for you.”

Diane:  “Let your sister buy it for you.”

They were vested in convincing me to make the purchase.  Diane was interested because it’s her job to sell as much as she can.  Kat was interested because she had a cart full of things and my lack of a purchase was making her rethink her choices.  I didn’t want to be guilted in to the purchase but I started to feel embarrassed.  I didn’t want to announce in the middle of the busy sales floor, “I’m trying to practice restraint and you two are not helping me.”  No, instead I looked at their smiling faces, gently cajoling me into submission and said “OK, I’ll take the lamp.”  Kat and Diane were pleased and assured me that I had made the right decision.  When I arrived home, Mike saw the lamp and shook his head.

Mike:  “Another lamp?!?”

Me:  “I don’t EVEN want to discuss it.”

I have no one to blame but myself.  Deep down inside I wanted that lamp.  Kat and Diane facilitated that desire.  But I did not need that lamp.  I searched the house for the reasons why and I found 3 of them.   Two of them were gifts from Kat.  One I bought at a church sale.  And I think there may be more in the house that are similar in design.

Lamps will continue to test my self-control as although I have an extreme abundance, I always find something new to tempt me.  I need to be able to say no, when I know better.  And better means, knowing what I have so that I do not repurchase the same items over and over again.  And when I know better and know what I have and still bring home a lamp, I need to let another one go.


  1. i think that if you related this story at a narcotics anonymous meeting, some kind soul would tell you that a recovering addict should not go into a crack-house with a crack-head to have an innocent talk with the drug dealer. it’s certainly difficult to stay sober if your tactics are flawed.

    • I like your analogy. But in reality, I find clutter everywhere. On the side of the road in the trash, friends and family, gifts that I can’t give away because they are “gifts”, “winning” things. I’d have to live alone on a mountain top to remove myself from all temptation. I want to learn to say “no”.

  2. Denial!

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