Zen & The Art of Shopping

by December 2014

Raw emotion defines shopping. I have shopping regret. In this situation I regret NOT buying something. I needed a pair of slippers – warm sheepskin ones. I saw a nice pair – not cheap but exactly what I wanted. I passed them up! Why? Because I thought I could do better.

Now, with my feet cold and after visiting a half dozen stores, it so happens that I haven’t found anything better, and here I sit with my feet under a blanket feeling ‘shopping regret’. These words should be written in bold. They should be a psychiatric diagnostic category.

Regret is a strong emotion. It’s anger over not getting what we want, plus anger at ourselves for the poor decision. Judging in the sense of condemning never feels good. It works into us like a nasty splinter.

So, how to deal with shopping regret? Send ourselves loving kindness, compassion, and then mindfully get out and go shopping! Still, there are decisions to be made. Should I go back and get the slippers that I regret not buying or should I keep looking? It’s not rational but I feel like still looking and shopping.

My mind is going to strange places. Maybe I should design my own slippers. I could give the pattern to a leather working person I know. I could have my own designer slippers. And then a further thought. I could have a line of slippers. I could go into business and become famous as a slipper designer. Still rugged, of course. I would do sheepskin outdoorsy slippers. You would see them advertised in Eddie Bauer catalogs. REI would stock them.

I would have employees, but I would be artisan. Everything would be supervised by me and inspected. But then I have another thought, an evil one! I could build up the brand, start having it made overseas – China or Vietnam. I could pay the factory workers next to nothing and become wealthy myself! Then, the larger retailers and designers would offer to buy me out, and I could do it!

The fantasy doesn’t stop there! I would retire on the coast, or travel. Set up a foundation. Cure diseases! Be absurdly wealthy. But at the same time be recognized as incredibly generous and amazingly humble.

As I write this my feet are beginning to warm up under the blankets. I’m readying myself to walk on the kitchen tile. I’m deciding that actually a nice pair of heavy socks is just as good as slippers. Gradually I return to a sense of balance and serenity. Keeping to my simple socks, a profound sense of clarity and strength returns. Ah! This indeed is Zen and the Art of Shopping!