Shopping in an age of instant gratification

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

The art of shopping has changed, changed, changed, my friends. Most say for the better, but I’m not convinced. It all seems too easy. There’s no “thrill of the hunt” anymore.

Remember when we were kids and you waited, ever so patiently, for your mom to take you for Back to School clothes and how, if you went too late, the store would probably be sold out of the Jordache in your size?

Well, the kids of 2017 have no idea what this is like.

The world of online shopping is vast and all too accommodating. Can’t find the color you were looking for at the mall? No worries! Hop onto the internet and find it somewhere else in about 30 seconds.

The newest (most dangerous) form of power shopping comes in the way of the “Swipe Up” feature on Instagram. Now, the bloggers you follow are paid a commission to entice you to forgo any delay of gratification skills your parents attempted to instill and connect you instantly to the clothes they are wearing.

I swear, everytime I swipe up I feel like one of those little rats in a psychological experiment pushing the sugar pill button with her nose. INSTANT high. I mean, you can practically feel the endorphins coursing through your veins when you see that your size is still in stock. One click, a few credit card numbers later and the item will show up on your doorstep in 2 to 3 business days. Easy peasy.

But, is that really shopping? It certainly doesn’t feel like it to me. Shopping requires a laser like focus to find what you’re looking for at the bottom of a pile and the endurance and perseverance to try things on even under evil, fluorescent lighting.

Shopping from the comfort of your home doesn’t feel natural. My girlfriend texted me the other day that 20 minutes of scrolling through Instagram Stories had resulted in multiple purchases totaling over $200…and it was barely 7:30am. Not good, people. NOT GOOD.

What’s the solution? Well, I have taken to screen capturing the fashions that I like and forcing myself to sleep on it before putting it in my shopping cart. About 90% of the time I never end up going through with the sale. It just goes to show that the urge to impulse buy is what the retailers of this new age are relying on. Don’t wait, just do it. The old adage “if you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it” is rapidly on its way to becoming just another archaic saying.

But, I say, take the time to mull it over. Go stare at the contents of your closet to see if you truly need it. Take a breath. Walk away from your phone/computer screen. And, worse case scenario, you may not get what you think you want in that moment.

It’s OK. The world will not end if you miss out on those particular skinny jeans. There will be others. Trust me. We all have bigger fish to fry these days.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment in the section below!

Happy Weekend.

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