It’s 2 a.m. on a Monday night and you’re exhausted but wide awake, probably from all that coffee you drank earlier that evening. You think to yourself, ‘I should probably get caught up on that pile of school work that I neglected all weekend’, as you flop onto your bed and open your laptop. Your computer blinks awake and flashes its LED screen brightly into your face—it’s then that something clicks. Almost intuitively, your fingers are typing in the web address of your favorite online store. Thoughts of your unfinished assignments linger in your head, but your fingers get there quicker. Before you can change your mind, the page has already loaded and you’re greeted with a colorful graphic that says: “30% sale, ending soon!” And with that, any trace of memory or guilt about your piling responsibilities simply vanish. It’s time for shopping.
This has been my nightly routine ever since freshman year at Penn. I would delay assignments (admittedly, the deadline for this article as well) because I was distracted countless times by the irresistible lure of online shopping. I would spend hours surfing different websites without even noticing how much time went by. I would inadvertently skip meals or classes. To make a point of clarification, I am not a compulsive spender. I don’t buy lots of clothes when I’m shopping online. In fact most times, these hours of browsing do not come to fruition. At 5 a.m. when I decide to finally call it a night, I sleep with the comfort of knowing that I didn’t spend a dime, and that maybe tomorrow, I can do this all over again.
What’s the point of shopping, then? you might ask. For me, the fun has always been in the browsing, not the spending. The fun is in soaking in the latest trends. It’s in imagining all the different ways you can put together an amazing outfit. And of course, the thrill of finding a very expensive piece of clothing in the right size at an affordable cost. In a sense, it’s almost like looking for treasure. Most of the fun is in the process, and when you do find something you like and decide to buy it, the effort it took to find it multiplies the value.
Online shopping is the bane of my existence. It prevents me from managing my time and carrying out my responsibilities. But it does remind me of why I started writing for this magazine in the first place: it drives my interest in fashion and well, to hell with it all, online shopping is what makes me happy.