I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a rainy, ugly September afternoon, one of those first days after the fall equinox, when the night is too hasty and the weather way too fickle. I was furious, to say the least. I had a horrible day at the office – a terrible fight with my boss which seriously made me consider quitting my job. My friends were too busy to answer my calls and my boyfriend – if I only had one – would have probably been caught up in an important meeting until midnight. At least that was the thought that comforted me – actually, I really wanted to be with someone, didn’t really matter who. Somebody to lean on.
Instead, I was alone with my cat and my laptop, my eternal friend and enemy, the only thing I could trust in that moment. And it proved me right. I spent hours and hours surfing the internet searching for clothes, shoes, jewels, make-up, creams and fragrances, well, everything: from cat clothing to baby strollers. And somehow I managed to forget about my problems, especially after I finished the Patron bottle, which I started with my girls a few weeks before.
The next day I woke up with the same problems, but with a horrible hangover on top – not to mention that my money somehow disappeared from my credit card, which was such a bummer, considering that I was planning to quit my job. But, guess what, I mumbled all morning stuff like “I’ll never drink again in my life”, or “I’ll find a job that doesn’t step on my dignity”, or “I’ll have to get another cat, this one doesn’t understand my problems”, but I never ever mentioned that “I should stop shopping under and during states of emotional instability”.
That was the moment I finally admitted that I’m a shopaholic. And that I liked it, was proud of it, didn’t need therapy, nor did I want to stop. I surrounded myself with pretty things because I was a shopaholic, and, truth be told, the act of buying was not some uncontrollable neurosis, but genuine pleasure. Which, it seems, I inherited from my ancestors and that I plan to pass on.
My mother was a clerk in a state institution. Worked half a day at a front-desk where she answered complaints from taxpayers. The other half she sat in an office, in front of an ancient computer. Her wage was not great, but enough to get her going. I remember there was not a single week without a little self-indulgence: some new clothes, a fragrance, a new lipstick shade and so on. She waited for the famous lady who distributed beauty products in every public institution like a kid before Christmas. She got excited for and with every ring, watch or necklace that the lady displayed on the desks, and got even more excited showing me her awesome acquisitions. I remember that she used to accessorize her outfits with something new every day and, until she was quite old, she used to answer to her colleagues’ compliments with that irresistible feminine self-confidence – which I then learned it’s timeless.
My grandma was born somewhere around 1910. She’s been through a couple of wars and had a pretty tough life. Talking about shopaholism when it comes to her would be a bit too much. But I will, though. My mom recalls that my grandma’s brother would come to visit them merely two times a year. And even though their needs were different, he never forgot to bring my grandma new scarves, dresses with floral prints, hats or shoes. And that each and every time my grandma would put them on graciously, spin around, place her hands on her hips and scold her brother: “Next time you should get a smaller size, John. I may be a grown up woman, but I still have the waist of a teenager”. Years have passed, meanwhile I was born and got to experience myself the cute foibles of my grandma. When I first bought her some earrings, she carefully looked at them with a glow in her eyes and said: “Oh, but you shouldn’t have bought such beautiful earrings to an old woman. There, there, com’on, help grandma put these on. Oh, but they don’t match with this scarf, I’ll wear them when I’ll go to the doctor. That’s when I’ll dress up with that new vest your mother bought for me. Oh, but look how beautiful your earrings are…”.
Now, please don’t get the feeling that all the shopaholic genes come from the women in my family. For instance, my dad collects spirits for his home-bar. Which he never laid a finger on. He’s got bottles from Jack Daniel’s, Ballantine’s, Metaxa, Cointreau and Remy Martin up to Patron, Martell and Baileys. Each time we pass a liquor store, I can see sparkles in his eyes, and when I visit them now and then, he’s always seeking for something in my bag, which might have the shape of a bottle. After receiving his gift, he admires the bottle for a few moments, tries to remember if he already has the edition, realizes he doesn’t – becomes even happier – and then he just puts it in the bar, among the others, where it soon becomes forgotten. But when a friend comes over, he has something to brag about. You should hear him describing them – with such passion and devotion that it seems he created those spirits with his own hands.
OK – but enough with the chit-chat and back to present. It’s been some years since then I grew up, I have a job that I love and a husband who’s always there for me. But I’m still the same old (or young) shopaholic – OK, maybe a little more thrifty and scrupulous than I was before. For instance, each time I travel, I can’t help stopping by in the duty free shops, where I feel like a duck taken to water. It’s literally my paradise. And the only thing that bothers me is that I don’t have more time to go through all the stuff and pick all the things I want.
Well, imagine now – after you’ve learned some important things about me – how I felt when I found out that BestValue has a website. When I realized I can spend hours at home, on my comfy pillows, ordering online all the products my heart desires from the shop I trust the most in this world. That I can call all my girls over and shop together, that I can get my husband a nice drink, which otherwise I wouldn’t carry in my luggage from the airport. They are all online, at my fingertips. And, above all, everything I order comes packed in the cutest little boxes, for which my children are always fighting, as they make the perfect homes for their precious dolls.
I told my mom about this. My mom who is always anxious when I go on a business trip so I can get her that airport exclusive Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair set. She was ecstatic. ‘So you’re telling me I don’t have to wait for you to come back from your trip to get my gift? No, mom. I just bought a plane ticket and I can buy that set for you right away.’
My mom knows little about modern technology and computers: google, email and some online magazines. But soon after I told her, she added BestValue to her list. We made a deal: she has to add to her wishlist everything she wants and I have to check her account and get her one of those product each time I travel. The little black box from BestValue is delivered in just a few days at her doorsteps. I found it quite strange that, at some point, some drinks started to appear in her wishlist. Until I realized: my father found out about it, too.
My name is Daria. I am 36 years old and I’m a shopaholic. And, to all of you, who launched the website, you must know that you’ve made me and all the shopaholics in my family extremely happy. We are all grateful for what you’re doing.
Keep up with the good work!