Do you recognize the following scenario?
You innocently walk into a store (one of the perfume carrying variety of course), intending to browse a little, checking what is in stock, maybe sniffing two or three perfumes on your list, but wholeheartedly convinced that you are not buying anything today. This is the mindset that almost guarantees a big bill and a heavy bag when you leave again. Why is that? Why can’t we resist?
Impulse buys seldom turn out great. Most of the time they get us into trouble. Yet we persist. The hope of finding that one perfect perfume is a strong motivator.
This is not supposed to be a lecture about the consumerism that befalls us all, or a finger-wagging at our culture of disposability. There are experts out there, I will leave that to them. I just want to explore why I do it.
The “I want” impulse is an insidious thing. It comes at you unexpectedly, from behind, you never see it coming until it is too late.
With me it starts with a craving for one particular item, for example, a Serge Lutens perfume strikes my fancy. I want it. So I start discussing with myself the need for another perfume and ending up somehow (I have that amazing gift of persuasion apparently) to talk myself into it. I come to the conclusion that life is no longer imaginable without this particular perfume in my collection. Having secured this inner permission, I rejoice and start planning my shopping tour. The “I want” has quietly morphed into an “I need to pick up”. Once in the shop, I quickly ask for this first Serge I gave myself permission for, that is already incorporated in my collection, even if only in my head, so it doesn’t really count any longer, it’s “in the bag”, before it is actually in the bag. This peculiar development, unfortunately frees me up to the possibilites of other purchases, right then and there. What I came for, is already old news.
What about the other Serges standing prettily in rows, one after another, all looking so delectable and matching. Wouldn’t it look nice in my perfume cupboard to have a matching bottle? Wouldn’t it be cruel to just have the one? It might be lonely. This one is absolutely necessary, because it could be my winter Serge, the other one being only good for summer. Or I could layer this one with that one, hmm…
I think it is imperative that these two be not separated, they are clearly made for each other, as well as for me…
Pseudo-justifications race each other in my fragrance-addled brain. And I am very good, I have years of training after all, at this kind of thing. I can justify the most stupid and senseless purchase with scary conviction. I don’t stand a chance against myself.
So what are the problems that such a “talent” brings?
The most obvious one is the spending issue of course. Money down the drain, that could be used for more sensible purchases, or at least for a well thought through perfume aquisition.
Another problem is not giving enough attention to the mood I am currently in, when making snap decisions. I tend to like very different things depending on my mood. When I am happy, I go for bolder scents, than when I am contemplative. If sad, I crave comfort scents, that scream sugar overload to me on other days.
The unsurprising conclusion: impulse buying perfume is not the best of ideas. One tends to end up with lots of unwearables. Restraint in buying ultimately leads to a better collection. The perfumes I have thought about for some time, that I tested over days and weeks, those are the ones that stay with me, that suit me and complement me. Infatuation fades quickly, real love stands the test of time. Particularly true for perfume.
Why, oh why is it so hard to stick to what is best, instead of what is best RIGHT NOW?