Sunday, 1 May 2011

not shopping

I hate shopping for clothes. (Books are a very different matter.)

I hate it so much that my current clothes have to be literally falling to pieces before I will rouse myself to go hunter-gathering for more. Not only that, I'm picky. I only like certain colours (nothing bright, nothing pastel -- only browns, green, yellows, and other earth colours) and plain styles.

pile of green clothes
This Christmas vacation, I realised all my jumpers had holes in them, so I needed a new one. I grumbled out into the New Year sales, and found that Cambridge's Edinburgh Woollen Mill had a sale on. Not only plain, earth-coloured jumpers, but at half price! I used a technique my other half taught me (he's even pickier than me: he'll only buy in blue or grey): buy two. This means you have to shop only half as often. I've broadened the approach: buy four, and you have to shop only a quarter as often (and it's a great incentive to stay the same size). Four jumpers later, I sigh in relief -- no more jumper shopping for ages.

Now, this multiple purchase techniques doesn't always work. Shops often have only one or maybe two items of a given style and size. But, with the advent of the Web, this is no longer a problem. Buy the one successfully hunted down, go home, log onto the shop's website, type in the product code, buy several more, get them delivered to the door. I've used this technique successfully, too.

someone else's holey shoe; source
Surprisingly, though, even this technique does not always work. When next my shoes fell apart (hole in the sole, one of the two standard failure modes), I needed another pair. Off to Clarks, where I found a comfy pair, eventually. So, I thought I'd use the same technique. (I find buying shoes even worse than buying other clothes, for some reason.) Off to the Clarks website: try to order three more pairs. It won't let me! I can order pairs in other colours or styles: I don't want other colours or styles. I can't order three identical pairs. I fire off an email to the company, pointing this out. "Yes", they say, "the site doesn't allow you to buy three identical pairs." Yes, I know; that's the problem. But why won't it let me? The only suggestion I have heard is that companies don't want you ordering a whole range of styles or colours, trying them all, then sending back all but the one you like. Okay, that might make a sort of sense. Except that this site would have let me buy three different styles; it's buying identical things that's the problem!

Oh well.

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