Two weeks without shopping (almost)

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I decided to go through with my plan to not shop for a year. I am certainly not the only person to be doing this, as I discovered after my first post on the topic at the end of last year. There are lots of groups and sites dedicated to reducing consumerism in various ways. I'll post about some of them later on. Today is just a personal report of my progress.

The first two weeks have been pretty easy. I haven't had too many "I want X" moments. There was one afternoon, while waiting for a friend at a train station, that I would have liked some hand cream to soothe my dry skin. But I didn't have any and I refrained from buying some. I felt virtuous and made a note to myself to do a better job of packing little necessities into my bag. I still haven't put any lotion in, though.

Mostly I have been avoiding shopping by doing things at home, going for walks and excursions, suffering a migraine, and hooping. The usual things, but more of them, I guess. My Japanese study is getting greater attention. That is good.

That is not to say I haven't looked at all. Tod & I made our traditional swing through Ameyokocho during the new year holiday. We bought food - yummy Chinese onion buns and a lot of peanuts - and ignored the durable goods, though it was a bit of a challenge to pass by all the pretty scarves and interesting cheap clothes. And one afternoon last week, Jim & I were browsing the antiques stalls at Ueno Park. There were a few temptations, like glass laboratory equipment and handmade beads, but I enjoyed looking at them without buying them. Soon enough I was bored of the whole thing and dragged Jim off to ride in a swan boat with me.

I must admit that there was one actual shopping experience. It was not for myself and it was in a true emergency. I'm forgiving myself for it, but I did note it carefully in my journal with a drawing of what I bought and a record of the price. Here's what happened: Jim needed clean underwear and pajamas when he landed in the hospital with a fractured skull (a long story not related to the swan boat and he is recovering now). I was asked to get some essentials and bring them to the hospital. At the time, in the stress of the situation, I didn't even consider an alternative to popping into Uniqlo and dropping some cash on new things. Reflecting on it later, I could have found a non-shopping solution. I might have loaned him some of Tod's stuff. Or I might have had time to go over Jim's place and root around for clean clothes. Neither of those options were in my head on the day, though, so I shopped. Mea culpa.

2 Comments

I think you can forgive yourself that shopping experience! Your friend's well-being is more important than your personal plan to not shop for the year. I'm sure he appreciated the new, clean jammies and underwear.

I've been very curious to know how it's going so thanks for the update. In your place, I might have bought the hand cream because I don't see it as a "durable" good. In my book, it's not stuff.

Of course this is your game played by your rules--it's very interesting to see you develop the rules as different situations present themselves.

Today my iPhone was acting up and I took it in to have it diagnosed. It was under warranty and so Apple just gave me a new one. Although I didn't buy the new one, I felt guilty for "consuming" it. The original one wasn't perfectly fine but I felt it had the potential to be fixed rather than replaced.

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