Five days after my last post, I can proudly say that I have tamed at least one of the many tigers that make me lean back every day. I no longer think that selling is akin to begging for money and my intellectual capacities (already beaten by age and child rearing) haven’t been diminished by spending 42 hours arranging scarves and bags and blouses and suggesting people a more flattering color for their complexion. Contrary to what I previously assumed, I actually had a lot of fun, met a whole bunch of new people and ended up refurbishing my own summer wardrobe. The Lawless guru might even be right.
Unexpectedly, I learnt something about shopping. I’ll call it Psychopathology of Shopping.
1) Thin women are the most difficult clients. They basically look good with anything and don’t feel the same compulsion to shop that pushes the average woman to walk miles to find the special item that will make her image in the mirror match the image in her dreams. I had thin ladies walking in, trying EVERYTHING twice, ask a thousand questions on colors, texture, composition…just to walk away empty handed 45 minutes later.
2) Single, pretty girls under 30 and in their late 30s are the best buyers, for different reasons. The armada of young, post-graduate, first-job-but-still-leaving-at-the-parents’ girls came in on the first night of the sale. They tended to go for the most beautiful pieces, without looking too much at the price tag (who cares, after all? They don’t have mortgages and pensions to pay yet and most of their first salaries will be devoted to shopping and vacationing), try it on without questions, quickly pay and go on partying with their friends, the new scarf already hanging from their smooth necks.
The older single ladies were the funniest: they would rush in just after work, re-apply make up in front of the mirror before going out for dinner and drinks, try on quickly a couple of things, talk excitedly about their upcoming holidays, negotiate the price, end up buying something that wasn’t necessarily what they initially wanted but that flattered them enough to promise a good summer AND matched their budget at the same time.
3) The fashion bug doesn’t go away with age. Women well into their 60s and 70s were the most curious buyers. They wanted to know everything about the story of the clothes, they had the time to talk and drink tea, and mostly looked really stylish. I felt enormously relieved: my personal nightmare of becoming a grey, old lady surrounded by animals in a camphor smelling house has no need to exist. I will probably keep on wearing bright colors and having coffee with my 70 years old girlfriends.
4) A shopaholic in recovery will tell you she will be back. She most likely won’t. She just controlled her impulse to take everything home, leaving you a third of her monthly salary. I had the greatest sympathy for this category, having used shopping as a chemical-free mood lifter for some years earlier on.
Lesson learned: doing something scary everyday is a very realistic medicine for the soul.