Thoughts on shopping as therapy

When I have a bad day at work I escape the office and buy stuff I don’t need (because buying stuff I need isn’t relaxation, it’s more work). Yesterday was about a 7 on a badness scale of 1-10 so I needed a lengthy spell out of the office and consequently bought four books I don’t need (given I have about 150 scattered around my house or on various devices).

I realised as I shopped that this is something my local book store offers that its online competitors cannot compete with: the calming influence of immediate acquisition. Clicking and waiting for delivery just doesn’t cut it when it comes to retail therapy. Perhaps they should do a leaflet drop to all nearby offices.

My haul included a book each from Denmark, Iceland, Scotland and Sweden. I justify such largesse on the basis that it does the store good to know that people want these books (a fact they may be unaware of given there were four and a half shelves of James Effing Patterson books on display but that, friends is a rant for another day).

What’s your favourite form of bad day therapy? Do you have a favourite justification for buying more books than you need?

This entry was posted in random thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Thoughts on shopping as therapy

  1. Bernadette – Now that looks like wonderful bad day therapy! Reading is a true therapy for me, too – the worse the day the more appealing books are. I am envious that you’ve got The Day is Dark; I haven’t read that one yet, although I truly like that series. I hope you’ll enjoy it and I look forward to your review.

    Hope your day is better tomorrow…

    Like

  2. Bill Selnes says:

    Bernadette: I rationalize when I go to Saskatoon that my wife is shopping for clothes and jewelry and crafting supplies than 1 or 2 or even 3 books are a bargain. Then I get home and look at my TBR pile about to get better and sigh but then I rationalize I’ll just to have read more. Buying less is not an appealing option.

    Like

    • You never know when you might get snowed in for months on end Bill – who’ll be laughing then? Well maybe both you and your wife, she can use her crafting supplies and you can read all your books 🙂

      Like

  3. Amy says:

    Bernadette,
    Like you, I have tons of books around: classics yet to read, ARCs and review copies, etc…but I find that when I hear of something especially unique, I have to have it RIGHTTHISSECOND! For example, I read about a Lithuanian translation somewhere and knew if I didn’t buy it immediately, I’d forget about it. So I was supporting translated literature and soothing myself with a really unique book!
    So it’s mainly when I see or read about something really unique, or when a trusted friend tells me a title, I will usually splurge. One author I reviewed recommended a book to me, and it was long out of print so I made a quest out of it on Ebay. I was so glad to have finally found it too…
    My biggest bad day splurge is more of handbags and totes and cool stationary products….I can justify that they have some benefit for organizing me, etc. Really, a new bag is a whole new lease on life! Lastly, my late night pity-party splurge is usually shopping online at Sephora! Three free samples seem to help justify the price tag, LOL.

    Like

    • Amy my American sister in law is a big fan of Sephora too – possibly a good thing they don’t ship to Oz 🙂

      I used to be a queen of handbags but over the past 4-5 years I have stopped buying them – it wasn’t a conscious decision…apparently I moved into the book phase of my life – I used to only buy a new book when I’d finished my old book – strange times!

      Like

  4. Vanda Symon says:

    This is why my favourite book shop is doing so well (-: I tend to head there first for retail therapy. Second would be stationery, third shoes. Shoes are only third because of the cost. You can get soooo many books for the cost of a good pair of shoes. In saying that though, nothing beats feeling grand after a good retail therapy session writing to your friend on your new stationery to brag about the books you brought, while wearing those smashing new boots…

    Like

    • LOL Vanda – what a good way to combine all your retail therapy…I suspect I would buy shoes if I could but I have big feet and am nearly 6ft tall – there are not many shoes I can actually buy since I don’t really do heels and if I did there would only be a choice of 2 pairs in my size 😉

      Like

  5. Kathy D. says:

    It’s not only shopping as therapy. It’s the experience of walking into a bookstore and seeing all these new books, picking them up and looking at them. That is very calming in and of itself.
    When I enter a bookstore, it’s like walking into a bakery. It’s uplifting, causing bad moods to fade.

    Like

    • You’re so right Kathy – it is the whole experience – I spent a long time browsing and, I must admit, re-filing several titles in their appropriate alphabetical order, I resisted the urge to hide all the Pattersons 🙂

      Like

  6. Maxine says:

    Yes, a bit of bookshop browsing is very nice therapy, though for me it has to be a chain store or the Oxfam bookshop! Browsing in a bookshop is so nice compared with attempting to browse in most other kinds of shops which are noisy and unrelaxing, with huge queues (eg) at the one remaining till in a 3-floor store. Of the books you chose unfortunately I can’t buy the Egholm as it isn’t published in the UK but I’ve read the rest – hope you enjoy them! Against expectations I liked The Blackhouse a lot, I have a review scheduled.

    Like

    • The store I went to is a chain though I have to admit this particular branch has upped its game a lot in the post-Borders market – essentially they are the last book store chain standing – at least in my city – and they have rallied admirably – so it does feel good to support them.

      And yes I hardly ever go into any other shops – full of teenagers and queues and awfulness – none of that in this book store.

      If the Egholm is any good I’ll send it along…apparently there is a second one coming out here shortly.

      Like

  7. Sarah says:

    A bookshop is the only shop that I can’t leave empty handed. Many a time I’ve gone shopping for clothes or something for the house and come back with a book instead. I agree it is incredibly relaxing and I don’t stress about having unread books knocking around the house. It’s better than having nothing to read! A particular bugbear is when people (non readers obviously) come to my house and ask me if I’ve read all the books. I don’t go into their wardrobes and ask if they’ve worn all their clothes….

    Like

  8. Food and/or books works for me on a bad day:) Hope your new books are enjoyable. Hope the rest of the week is better for you.

    Like

  9. Norman says:

    Bad days; and I am having a few at the moment-the therapy?
    Well going down for lunch to our local Fish Shed. Apparently the fishmonger/chef got the idea from a trip to Australia, where you can either buy your fish and take it home or have it cooked for you on the spot grilled or fried, with chips, vegetables or salad. During the spring and summer you can eat in the open air, but they have seats indoors as well. The fish could not be fresher, and it would take a lot for me to ever move inland and away from our beautiful coastline.
    I can always come up with an excuse to buy more books, but I have Wagner, Theorin, Indridason, Lackberg, Marklund, Ohlsson, Enger and Sigurdardottir staring at me from the Nordic TBR pile.

    Like

    • So glad we are having some culinary impact on the world Norman…and that is a very popular thing here and it is wonderful to eat fresh food cooked simply and well – there’s a couple of places here that even have their own quite extensive gardens to provide the herbs and vegetables to accompany the fish – so the whole meal is as fresh as can be – you can even pick your own tomatoes for the salad 🙂

      Like

  10. Robin Jonathan Deutsch says:

    Good day! I do exactly the same. It’s as if I wrote that passage myself. I don’t think there’s any better therapy for a bad day, except maybe my two dogs fighting for a cozy position on my lap as I read. All fanatical readers have a large TBR pile. It’s called “guilty pleasure,” the accent being on “pleasure!”

    Like

    • So glad I’m not alone Robin….and you’re right about the pleasure bit, though the dogs would be a bonus. I am hoping to move soon and when I buy a new house it will have to have room for dogs.

      Like

  11. Pingback: Books of the Month – January 2012 | Reactions to Reading

  12. Beth says:

    I have convinced myself that I don’t have to justify book purposes because they are a bulwark against boredom and the onset of age-related dementia. If i can remember the story, there must be some brain cells that are still working.

    As to the boredom factor, books either relieve boredom when there is no one to talk to or they can be great conversation starters.

    Like

  13. Beth2 says:

    Bernadette, you are so right about the difference with a bookshop, especially one which has a coffee shop attached. And which is not in a mall. I use the ones I know for reward and for therapy. I must say, however, that I am proud that I have used my Kindle to read just over 100 books, and from that I enjoyed 2 so much that I then went and bought holdable, stroke-able copies for re-reading. And while I was there, a big, clear world atlas so I could see where I was reading about … And then justified the expense by what I’d saved on e-reading – how’s that for self-delusion?
    Love my books!

    Like

    • There is something so special about an atlas though Beth (how funny that there are 2 of you one after the other) – I adore them myself – I am sure it was the hours of pouring over atlases as a kid that gave me the travel bug – my mum had several big old ones that we would use to look things up and just stare at. So I don’t consider buying an atlas an unnecessary expense at all – hope you have fun on your virtual travels

      Like

  14. JoV says:

    My bad day therapy is also book buying. So no matter how much I say I will stop buying books, there are going to bed days and the ones I could afford and gives me lots of joy is to buy cheap used books! I love handbags but unfortunately handbags doesn’t come cheap. It’s a blessing that I’m sticking with books. 😉

    Like

  15. JoV says:

    Going to be “bad days” I mean.

    Like

  16. Amanda Mac says:

    I with you as far as it comes to shopping in the real sense being therapy. And one is always satisfied after visiting a bookstore. I also lament the expansive shelves of Patterson and Maeve Binchy etc, and have to scrounge around to find the Scandinavian authors that I like. ( Noticed Egholm which is my new favourite. Yrsa books in your picture isn’t even available on Amazon. Online is great for accessing most overseas titles and I so agree with you comment about Australia being the land publishing forgot. ( even if we have great fish n chips!!)

    Like

Comments are closed.