Think Before You Buy: The Importance of Being a Cautious Consumer
The Hunt for the Perfect White Sneaker
I recently noticed that my trusty white Converse sneakers were looking pretty shabby and needed to be retired. When I went to replace them, I decided to be a cautious consumer and consider my options fully. My thought was that something like a white sneaker, a wardrobe staple for me at least, needed to be the perfect, go-to sneaker. I want to be able to walk for miles without any blisters, to feel like I know how to wear them with the clothes I already own, and to love the way they look on my feet. Instead of just running to the mall to pick up a new pair, I read some reviews online, and then ordered several pairs to compare. I ordered 5 pairs from Zappos.com (they make it so easy to do this kind of thing with free shipping and free returns), and tried them all on. I walked around the house in each pair, styled them with jeans and different socks, and through process of elimination I picked one pair to keep, the Supergas. I’ve worn them several days already, and I know they will be perfect for a Florida trip I have coming up next week and for going into the spring season.
Being a Cautious Consumer
I’m glad I took the time to pick the perfect pair of sneakers, and it made me think about my general shopping habits. The times when I buy something randomly because I need it for a specific event, when I’m caught up in the moment on a trip or when I see it on someone else and decide I simply must have it are the times that the item soon loses its appeal. I am working toward a minimalist wardrobe, eliminating anything I haven’t worn in the last year and anything that doesn’t go with the other items in my closet, so I have decided to no longer allow for items that are not absolute favorites. In order to maintain this, it means each new item needs to be thoughtfully considered. I knew I wanted to replace my original white Converse, the fact that they were so beat up is a sign of how much use I got out of them, so I wanted to purchase the exact right shoes so they would continue to be something I wear again and again.
So I thought: what if I spent as much time researching and evaluating the best thing for me with each purchase this year? Cautiously and consciously choosing any new items that enters my home is my goal. First, if it is something that is just a passing whim that I’m not that serious about needing or wanting anyway, it is a deterrent if I know I have to spend that much time evaluating before I get the thrill of the purchase. If I start to really look into the options, I might lose interest anyway, and I will potentially eliminate impulsive consuming. Second, how often do we purchase something and then a few weeks or months later see a different version of that item that we wish we had chosen instead? If I spend time seeing what’s out there beforehand, I’ll know the item I choose is the one that I really want, and is more likely to be in regular use than the item that loses favor when I see its superior version in the store while I resent my seemingly inferior original purchase at home. Finally, I only want items in my wardrobe or in my home that I absolutely love. I will never love the shoes that hurt my feet, the sweater that is a little too snug, or the throw pillows that don’t really match my duvet. By being more aware of anything I am buying, I know it is worth it to wait, and hold out for the right thing, or maybe after researching realizing that I don’t need that item at all.
I invite you to join me in being a cautious consumer, so we can all avoid purchasing mistakes in the future. We can eliminate the time wasted doing returns, or the money lost when we end up buying multiple items to serve the same purpose because we didn’t get it right the first time. So take some time before you pick up that cocktail dress for an event, those high heels that you saw on a blog that will hurt after walking one block, or that pasta maker that you will only use once a year. Consider if the item is really the one you would choose if you had all the time and money in the world. If that is still what you would pick no matter the price and no matter how much time you had to hunt for the perfect one, then it sounds like you’ve found a good fit. If you could see yourself coming across something you like more or would use more down the road, maybe leave that one behind at the store. Or better yet, fill the need with something you already own. Don’t forget to shop in your own closet before ordering from J Crew or Amazon. You will not only save time and money, you will also keep your space from getting cluttered with things you don’t love or don’t use. That way, you will be a cautious and conscious consumer, and your items won’t end up consuming you.