A Cure for Shopping by Halifax



A strange thing happened today. I went shopping and came home with what I needed.

I know. Weird.

Friends who know me are aware that I have something called Purchase Empowerment Syndrome (PES). This is a clothing problem, not to mention a boot, coat, shoe and shiny-sparkly-bling problem, whereby I see something, I  like something, and then I buy the something.

I’ve had PES my entire life. You might know it better by its more familiar term, shopping.

My closet shows the symptoms of this affliction. Make that my two closets, large dresser and a couple GIANT suitcases I stuffed with clothing that left behind in Waterloo. Evidence nonetheless.

But look. I’m not alone. Plenty others have the disease.

I will say though, I’ve been exceptionally well disciplined since arriving in Halifax. Almost cured, as a matter of fact.

My inoculation came in the form of limited budget and minimal closet space. Of course, being human, I do admit to the odd PES relapse, but lately, I’ve been very good.

I mostly credit this wonder to a single rule of thumb.

This is the rule: Do not go into stores.

You see, things happen when I go in stores. It’s like the clothes have these little gremlins attached to the price tags that leap off the racks, and bore into my brain, through my ear, like in that one Star Trek eppie. Remember that one?

Once in my brain, the gremlins take control of my mind and start to manipulate my hands and arms. Before I know it, I’m grabbing things off the racks until masses of items are draped on my arms, and I find my legs heading to the change room.

Course, once I’m in the change room, I always like everything, which is when the gremlin sitting in  command central switches gears and intiate the mathematical formula.

Here’s how the mathematical works:

  1. Ensure you take at least ten items into the change room.
  2. Allow the gremlins to convince you that buying only five things will actually save you money. (A girlfriend is excellent at this math too.)
  3. Return the five items you are leaving behind and head to the cash with the five you plan to buy. Pay for them.
  4. As you are leaving the store, mentally add up the cost of the item you did NOT buy, and Voila! You will  see how much you saved.

Trust me. I’ve done this kind of math, and I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved through the years with the formula.

Anyway, this kind of gremlin trickery is why I must not let the them get close to me, and thus, why I do not go into stores.

Telling you this, however, does not in anyway explain why I went to the mall today.

All I can say is when Warren, Sara and friend Jocelyn asked to use the car to go to MicMac Mall in Dartmouth, I leapt into the car and told them I would drive them there.

I mean, after all, I’ve never been to MicMac Mall. And I should really get out and, you know, check out the city  while out east, right?

We got there, parked, and I giddily trundled in with them, as the driver  of course.

We started in H & M, but I got bored, so I went outside to kill some time and found myself in American Eagle and then Ricki’s. They called me to meet up with them at another store, and I scooted over there, where I was quickly  discombobulated by acres of racks, loud music and fluorescent lights.

I need to  somewhere more sane and sensible for a 54 year-old driver. Biding my time, strolling down the mall-halls, busy turning up my nose at one after another of these young twenty-something stores.

And then, I saw something. Could it be? Was it? What that a ‘B’ for….


O.M.G. It was The Bay! Middle-aged women’s heaven and home of my to favourite manna… Guess, Free People, Mexx and Dex (in a pinch) and serious fav, Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply. Man. This line was made for MY body!) And no. No one is paying me to advertise here, okay?

My eyes darted manically from rack to rack and my legs suddenly lurched me forward to every single one of them. Sale or no sale. The gremlins had me and were boring into  my head.

Fifteen minutes later, I was in the change room swapping out my old, decrepit sweater for delightful new things! One, two, three, four… I flung top after top, on and off quicker than I can rip off a Biore pore strip. In five minutes flat, a rag-tag motley of colours, styles and cool new looks were heaped on the chair, arms inside out, dangling down, hangers  bereft from the frenzy.

Standing in my bra and undies, I even noticed myself  in the angled mirrors that displayed me all sides (front and back) and it didn’t even bother me that  my mother’s legs had sprung onto my body or that the flesh on my back that is was now sinking.

Nothing could spoil my mood.

At the end of this, I marched out of the change room, leaving six of the items behind and three in my arms for purchase.

And then you want to know what I did? I asked where the lingerie was and headed to that section where I increased the pile with  another three items. The gremlins had spoken to me, loud and clear, and I was listening.

Here is what I had in my arms, ready to march to the cash with intentions to purchase, total street value (before taxes) $290.

  • 1 black shirt with beading ($54)
  • 1 cool swoopy dress with a rockin’ hip pattern ($74)
  • 2 white undershirts ($24)
  • Flowery soft pajamas ($29)
  • 1 Guess T-shirt ($24)
  • A new onesie ($45)
  • Fuzzy slippers ($40)

Not. Kidding. I was Stepford Wife on my way to the check out desk, so I would look pretty. And while I was walking there, lightly debating the purchases, the gremlins were still nattering away in my head.

“The stuff is all on sale! Think how much you’re saving. Ooh honey! You gonna look so fly!”

And then, here is how Halifax cured me of my PES shopping disease.

A cynical voice came barging in knocking the gremlins flat on their well-dressed pa-tushies. It was me.

“Who do you really know here who might see you in your new stuff? The only places you go are the library and your office. And you wear your jammies in the office. You don’t even wear half the stuff in your closet. Lady–you got a shirt in there that still has the tag on!”

And then. And then came the closer.


Who invited this pooper to the party anyway?

My head started swivelling a la Linda Blair, you know, in that scene. Pay? Go? Pay? Go? Pay? Go? AHHHHHHHHHHH!

And this is what I did. I plopped EVERYTHING on this rack in the lingerie department, stacked with jammies, and then I skulked to the escalator, went down and got the hell outta The Bay.

On the way to the car, I popped into  Winner’s to grab the only thing I really needed, a can of hairspray, and then I grabbed some chocolate to make me feel better because as anyone knows, chocolate heals everything.

Total damage? $19.

Warren, Sara and Jocelyn joined up with me at the car, with their many bags, but I kept mum on my almost and very expensive slide off the wagon. After all, I must pretend to be an in control role model, at least some of the time.

I did, however, give them chocolate.

Music Credits:

Bjork – Come To Me

Pink Floyd – Money

5 thoughts on “A Cure for Shopping by Halifax

  1. Hi Karalee – I have that problem too, but only in IKEA. This of course confuses the shit out of me as it is not the best stuff and I don’t even own a home?!?! But still, if I go there I just want everything and cannot control the voices in my head. So, I have banned myself from IKEA as it does not make me feel good. The news this week? KW is getting an IKEA ….. such a cruel world some times. Hope you are well and take care – Trish


  2. I hear you girlfriend – great willpower. I did see that Star Trek episode and it is kinda like that. And another reason for not spending the money – you don’t need new clothes – you look great in any old thing. However, you may want to invest in some nice thick flannel pjs for that Halifax winter.
    Have a great weekend!


  3. Amazing will power! I could have used some of that this weekend while doing some Black Friday shopping! Totally convinced myself I ‘saved’ money as I did get some pretty amazing deals.


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