Shopaholic Hunts for Deals

confessions_of_a_shopaholic_ver4It’s hard to believe when you look at my closet today, but I am actually a recovering Shopaholic. Hanging out at the mall was once my favorite way to spend an afternoon. Forget the fact that my retail therapy addiction resulted in a ridiculous amount of credit card debit–those banana clips, big belts, and acid washed jeans at Limited Express were just too cute to resist–I am probably personally responsible for the recent stock market dive since I gave up shopping as a hobby just about the same time that subprime mortgages came into vogue.

However, even in my daze of Shopaholic frenzy, I had certain boundaries that I wouldn’t cross. It was more than okay to spend $200 in an afternoon, but I would never spend $200 on a single item. As much as I loved to shop, there was a certain price point barrier that I just couldn’t overcome.

When it comes to shopping, my philosophy has always been that more is more. I’m sure I got that from my mother, who heads straight to the sale rack in every store she enters. I can’t tell you how many perfect pairs of boots or jeans I’ve passed up over the years (and still dream of sometimes) because I just couldn’t stomach the price tags.

I bit my tongue the other day when my sister-in-law told me she was buying my niece a $400 dress for a dance. The only dress I’ve ever owned that cost that much was my wedding dress.

Given my ambivalence about shopping, you can imagine my mixed feelings when I read about Sarah Palin’s $150,000 spree. Okay, technically the Republican National Committee’s $150,000 shopping spree FOR Sarah Palin.

My first reaction was, admittedly, incredible jealousy. What woman hasn’t dreamed of having a fairy godmother/personal shopper come and drop a stylish new wardrobe in her lap? It was the same kind of seething envy I felt years ago when lunching with an actress friend who let it slip out that now that she finally had a part on a TV show and could afford to shop to her heart’s content, designers were sending her free Wayfarer sunglasses and Reeboks in the hopes that “People Magazine” would take her picture while she was wearing them.

Ah, the irony of it all.

“Ah, the irony of it all” was my second reaction to the Palin fashion scandal too. While the $150,000 shopping spree price tag is eyebrow raising, if not jaw dropping, in and of itself, juxtaposing it with her winky winky Wasilla mom at Wal-mart shtick is the part that gets me hot under the collar of my Ross-Dress-For-Less sweatshirt.

While personally I consider Target (pronounced “Tarjay”) to be the Mecca of mom-approved fashion, the last time I checked they weren’t carrying Jimmy Choos or Valentino.

I actually considered that same style of Masunaga glasses that Palin wears when I was shopping for new frames last year, but my insurance wouldn’t cover enough of the $400 price tag. You’d think a woman who hunts for moose and wolves would be a little better at hunting for bargains.

But what do I know, really, about shopping. I’m just a soccer/flag football/basketball/chess club/baseball mom, who mostly works at home in her pajamas. I’m also a recovering Shopaholic who could apparently–talk about ironic–teach the Republican National Committee a few things about money management.

As Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour Magazine, told the “New York Times,” “My first reaction when I heard about this was, ‘Honey, I could have dressed you for a lot less than that.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on October 31, 2008.

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