The favorite lies we tell ourselves when shopping

We collected some day-to-day stories of when we bought something and lied to ourselves. We hope you don’t blush when you feel caught.

We have collected for you some examples, inspired by our lives and the lives of our friends* (*we changed the names). These examples are portraits of how we currently make our purchase decisions, and we are sure you’ve had the same thoughts the one time or the other when taking the credit card to buy fashion.

Example 1: “Comparing the cost of your clothes to your food”

Cassandra is on her way home from work, currently waiting for the bus and to kill time, she steps into a fast-fashion brand right next to the bus stop that currently has sales. (Unmissable because of the big red signs everywhere in the shopping window)

She sees a dress and thinks:

” Oh, this dress is just €15. I don’t need it, but it is a fantastic price… actually like what I pay for one drink out. So next time I will just have a cocktail less.”

She buys it and wears it one time, that time when she goes out for one drink and wears it never again.

Example 2: “Paying more for a t-shirt than your coffee”

Anastasia, on the way to meet a friend in the city center, while walking there she got caught by a sign in the shopping window of a normally a bit too trashy shop, the sign says “Basics starting from €3.”

She thinks: 

“I already have a lot of basics but let me take a look, you can never have enough.”

She goes inside and buys without any other thoughts (or even trying on) a white basic t-shirt for €3. Later she meets her friend, shows her proudly that newly purchased super-deal t-shirt. Afterward, they go to a big international coffee chain, her coffee with caramel and cream is €6.

Example 3: “Buying two items because there is a 50% discount”

Clementine, went shopping because she has received her salary, going inside a medium-priced brand, that currently has some special offers (on some so-called “slow movers” = items the company has produced too much and no one is buying)

She thinks:

“Wow, this shirt is just €25 for being made out of cotton, normally a cotton shirt from that brand is €60. I mean, it is not really my style with that eccentric flower print. But more than 50% off, it is such a good deal, how can I say no? – I mean, I don’t want to regret that anytime soon right?.” 

She buys that shirt in two colors and both shirts end up as one of these pieces she tries on from time to time in front of the mirror and never gets to wear it outside (you might guess why) because it is not her style.

Example 4: “Buying one piece just to create a special look”

Savanna, stopping by her favorite shop because she wants to check out what new items they have (She has been there like 2 weeks back, but knows that they have new things in the shop continuously).

She thinks:

Oh, I love those pants, they are a bit special, but they go so well with that top I bought two weeks back. For 30€ I can buy it!” 

She buys it and wears it exactly one time together with that top, her boyfriend makes a picture of it, she uploads it on Instagram, and that is the only time she’ll ever wear it before she sorts out her wardrobe.

Example 5: “Thinking the cheaper piece is the better option”

Gwendolyn, browsing online at a multi-brand shop, (no promotions are currently applied, except for the welcome voucher, which she already used, because of course, this is not her first order at this shop.)

While she fills her virtual shopping cart, she thinks: 

“Mhmm, I am torn between these two pants, one is for €40 by a fast-fashion brand, and the other one for €120. But as they are both two straight cut black jeans made of 100% cotton, there is no reason to pay more.”

She buys the cheaper one for €40. She really likes it and wears it almost every day, but it gets broken after 6 months. As she does not see the necessity to get it fixed because a new pair of pants is just €40.

Example 6: “Running after every trend”

Penelope, scrolling through her Instagram, seeing her favorite influencer wearing a highly expensive designer dress. Later that day she sees an Ad of a very similar tube dress made by a fast-fashion brand for a fraction of the price of the original.

She thinks:

“I’ve been looking for something like this, this must be Destiny.”

She orders that dress online hoping she will look exactly like her idol. As soon as the dress arrives, her favorite influencer posted already a new picture of an even cooler dress…

We could have gone on here for example after example, but we think you’ve got the point. All the people in the examples (like also us) keep lying to themselves to explain the deal. Why do we always feel the need to explain it to ourselves? Is it because we know we don’t need that item? Or is it because we already have enough, and really don’t need that item?

But this is kind of how we made our purchase decisions in the past years, we hope next time when you go shopping you will remind yourself:

  • Don’t be like Cassandra and calculate the value of your clothes compared to one drink or any other food
  • Don’t be like Anastasia who spends more money on her coffee than her T-Shirt
  • Don’t be like Clementine who buys two times the same piece that is not her style just because it is a good offer
  • Don’t be like Savanna who buys an item just because it fits one outfit
  • Don’t be like Gwendolyn who buys something she likes in bad quality for little money
  • Don’t be like Penelope running after every new trend.

When you buy something, buy something:

  • that you need 
  • that you know you like
  • that fits your style (so you can wear it in many combinations and situations)
  • that is made in good quality
  • that is ethically produced.

If you want to understand more the true cost of the products you are buying, please read the article “How much does your 10€ dress really cost”.

Follow us on our journey to change the way we consume and read our first part of our series “A mindful and conscious consumption”.

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