Sunday, May 22, 2005

COLUMN: Internet Shopping

I love the internet. Nothing amazes me more than the knowledge that, upon returning home from a hard day's work, I am mere mouseclicks away from commerce, news, community, and/or hardcore pornography. That said, I've discovered one thing about the net that really bugs me.

Last week, I was having one of my patented Really Bad Weeks. The sort of week where everyone was ticking me off for little to no reason whatsoever. Blame it on sleep deprivation, blame it on my traffic violations, blame it on Renee Zellweger getting married to some country dorkus. Heck, like Milli Vanilli once said, blame it on the rain. I don't care. Whatever the scenario, I was in a deep, deep funk.

It was the kind of week wherein every little pet peeve I had of anyone in my proximity came out full circle. A close friend could have been telling me how much they value my friendship. An attractive girl could have been asking for my phone number. Ed McMahon could have been telling me I won a million dollars. My brain was simply rife with pet peeves. "Ed McMahon," my internal dialogue would have blurted, "I hate the way you breathe. Does he have to breathe this way the WHOLE time he's talking to me? Okay, okay, be cool. NO! I can't be cool when someone's breathing like that. Just stop breathing, okay? OKAY?" It was one of THOSE weeks.

Now, normally when one reaches mental states like that, there are a surplus of remedies. I could talk to my closest friends and find out what's really bothering me. I could take a slow walk through a park and get re-acquainted with myself. I could have a psychiatrist regress me to find out all my woes go back to when I spilled Kool-Aid on the carpet at my 4th birthday party.

Naw. Those cock-a-mamie solutions might work for Joe Q. Public, but not me. I have discovered through my 34 years of hard living one unbeatable cure-all for a foul mood: Spending foolish amounts of money on foolish things. There is NO hardship too great to not be overcome by a new video game. Or a DVD. Or a new CD. Or, heck, 10 new CD's. And, well, 10 new CD's need a home, so I might as well grab a carrying case, too. Etc., etc.

I am the KING of impulse shopping. I can walk into Border's for ONE item and walk out with 25 in a heartbeat. Disposable cash is the ONLY benefit to single life I can come up with... but my problem is that I dispose of ALL my cash, leaving me to live on the poverty line -- but at least I can watch my DVD's and play my video games until they come and shut my power off.

So I decided to fix my woes of last week with a little impulse shopping on the internet. Namely, at my favorite site, I have a weird fixation on English indie music, so shopping at a British website is a quick way to get my fix. I hopped on there, picked out some stuff, hit the "complete my purchase" button, and then set back to take a deep sigh of...

WOE. I still felt miserable. Turns out the most redeeming part of impulse shopping is to suddenly have fun new toys in your grasp, right then at that moment. I, on the other hand, had nothing, other than a 10-14 day estimated shipping time and a hole in my bank account. This wasn't a cure-all; this was mood suicide. Now I have to WAIT. And THINK. Think about how stupid it was to blow a bunch of money on useless junk. Think about how 70 British pounds sounds better than 128 US dollars but means the same thing. Think about how I'm going to throw my computer right out the window.

So. Lesson learned. No longer am I going to cure my bad moods with foolish impulse shopping on the internet. From here on out, I'm going to solve my problems the old-fashioned way -- at Border's, with a checkbook.

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