To say that the pandemic has put a near end to my impulse shopping is an understatement but that doesn’t mean that my bad habit has been entirely snuffed out. I have purchased new things during the pandemic but I think that there’s something curious about this recent slate of purchases more so than the usual impulse buys I pick up in hopes of temporarily satiating my anxiety.
Let’s go over some of the things I’ve bought during the pandemic.
A Yeti Nano Microphone
I run two podcasts with two friends and oh boy has audio quality always been a struggle. On top of that, I have had virtual conventions to muddle through and my videos have never been the best quality. I started some freelance work early into the pandemic and that left me with a little extra cash and after agonizing for days over what kind of mic I should get and what mic would best suit my needs I settled on the Yeti Nano. It’s good sound quality, not super expensive and it’s petite: like me. My audio quality has improved, I feel more professional and it was absolutely worthwhile to save up for the new tech.
An Anthony Bourdain Novena Candle
Longtime readers of the blog and those close to me will know just how much Anthony Bourdain means to me. I still remember the day I found out that he died. A friend reached out to me asking if I was okay as if I had lost someone very close to me. The loss felt close; it still feels close. That’s why when my friend reached out to me showing me a novena candle with Anthony Bourdain on it depicted as a Saint: well, I had to buy it.
It now sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom next to my incense, a few family photos and my degree: a contact reminder to keep living as I would and to do so decadently.
A Ring Light
Remember how I mentioned that I got a new mic? Well, since I was focusing on being the best I could be when it comes to my video production and presentation? Well, I bought the secret trick used by models, “models” e-girls, cosplayers and “cosplayers” all around the world: a ring light. A friend of mine who cosplays mentioned that the ring light she used was on sale and I happened to have some Amazon gift card money to spend and thus arrived a few days later a ring light that has really done wonders of making me look alive and vibrant while being on livestreams and while recording videos.
A Pageant Gown
Shocking development: I entered a beauty pageant earlier in the year. It was mostly at the behest of a friend. Earlier in the year, I didn’t think there’d be a pandemic so I had to continue on as if the event was happening this year. I have started and stopped with this pageant for weeks and waited until what would have been the last minute to order a gown before the coordinators finally gave up the ghost and moved the event to next year. Well, I still have the dress and now I’m not sure if I’m going to be in the pageant. I suppose now I’ll have to find an event worthy of what may be the nicest gown I own currently.
You may have noticed a theme here. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take my time and money and be able to reinvest in my hobbies this pandemic. I’m very aware that not everyone is this fortunate. I’ve spent this pandemic either saving money or trying desperately to find coping skills that don’t involve going to the mall to avoid my racing thoughts. I’ve filled the void with many things over the years: books, clothes, fabric, costume supplies to costumes I’ll never use but having to sit and be alone with my thoughts has been trying. I didn’t realize how destructive my shopping had become until the option to do so just didn’t exist as it normally did. I was never a huge on online shopping. Probably the part of me that subconsciously knows that I would develop a habit if I fully realized that with a few button clicks that things could arrive at my apartment like magic. By removing the ability to stop at “just one more store” or pick up “well I may need it” kind of purchases, I’ve had no choice but to really take a good hard look at my spending and my desire to acquire.
The pandemic made my shopping more intentional and for better or worse made me realize that I need other coping skills. And to be honest, I’m glad it did. It’s never fun having to take a look at a bad habit by organizing books, trading cards and clothes. It’s been trying, hell. It’s also been shocking to realize the pure amount of privilege I have to even shop during this pandemic. That guilt may also have been what’s driving my desire to consume less. Being at home means now I’m even more aware of all that it takes to get me what I want. It isn’t just walking into a store and grabbing a pair of velvet leggings. It’s having to price shop and look and find shipping prices that make sense and knowing that someone is packing that order and making sure it gets to me. It wasn’t that such awareness didn’t exist before but I am more cognizant of it now.
I feel almost guilty for consuming. I know that I shouldn’t, that’s the comfortable lie that capitalism tells me. But when the world is on fire, there are just plenty of times where I don’t feel like adding to the system of consumerism. It’s been remarkably difficult to look up from where I am sometimes to buy frivolous things. Realistically, the things I purchased either were to reinvest in things I’ve been doing for years or ended up being a need.
That is, if sparkly ball gowns count as a need.