Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 21/07/11: Shopping is an endurance test.

The human body is capable of remarkable feats.  Every organ is a cog in a finely tuned machine that is designed to be in not-quite-perpetual motion.  Skin is conveniently waterproof. The liver kindly takes on the task of filtering out all the nasty things that we foolishly ingest, accidentally or on purpose.  The cranium can take more than it’s fair share of hard knocks.
Besides being remarkable in it’s ordinariness, the human body can push itself further when under great stress.  World record holders can pull trucks with their hair, adrenal mothers can lift car wrecks with small children trapped inside and the human body can continue to exist on a drastically reduced, simplified diet – especially if shopping is involved.
You see something in a magazine.  You love it.  You want it.  You need it.  Of course, no one really needs a pair of Louboutins or an Alexander McQueen clutch bag.  We just convince ourselves that we do.  That studded snakeskin, box shaped, miniscule container that fits only keys, money and a lipstick will transform your life dramatically.  You will instantly become more confident, assertive and poised.  Your hidden potential will be realised and you will be recognised for the fabulous person that you are.  That must be why it’s so expensive.
I had a similar moment a few weeks ago.  It was a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem catwalk shoes.  They had five inch heels.  They were festooned with hightly impractial, ropelike silk floral ribbons that could be twined around the ankles like pointe ballet slippers.  They were also 50% off – and still very, very expensive.
It’s vulgar to talk about money, I know, but I like to think it’s slightly less so when you have none. I’m poor as all hell and not ashamed of it.
A diet of beans tastes slightly sweeter when you know that the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlights of a FedEx van containing a little something special just for you.  The feeling of accomplishment is deceptively real.  You, who are the kind of person who never buys designer, you who has no money, has achieved the superhuman feat of buying something expensive without incurring the wrath of the credit card debt deities.
In this way, the struggle to buy what you love has a greater significance than if you had the money already folded snugly in your pocket.  It’s two fingers up to the fashion establishment, who keep prices high so that only the rich can be seen with their goods.
It’s a slightly counter-productive up yours, because in buying their goods, you’re still pumping cash into the veins of the company. You’re defying the company, but still buying into it.
Then again, this might be the delirious raving of a person who has eaten more kidney beans in three weeks than most people would care to eat in three years.
I say, if you want something, work for it. Earn it so you can buy it.  Even if you end up smelling of beans, your feet will be coming up roses.

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8 thoughts on “Licentiate Column 21/07/11: Shopping is an endurance test.

  1. Sure, I only love this column, Sarah. So true, so very true. Wouldn’t fancy the beans, though. I’m more of a pasta girl in times of financial woe!!;) I agree with Whisty, those shoes sound amazing. Impractical? Pah, what’s that! :)SarahD

  2. “who keep prices high so that only the rich can be seen with their goods.” — LOL, oh, yes, that’s exactly why my pieces are so expensive! Out of spite! ;-)

    • Wendy, I don’t mean people like you, who have to cover the cost of materials such as gold and precious stones as well as factoring their creative vision into the prices of their goods. There are companies up there who mark up hugely just because they can – in a weird, inverse way, the more expensive something is, the more some people want it. People pay for exclusivity and the cachet of luxury, which can be WAY overvalued at times.

      In no way do I think that all designers are money-grabbing bastards who push up prices so that only rich people can afford them. But some of them do exist. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear enough and I apologise profusely if I’ve offended you. I feel bloody mortified as well, because I love your jewellery, especially your swear rings!

  3. Im one of these girls that truly needs an Alexander McQueen clutch bag and believe me…..I WILL have one some day, even if it takes me a lifetime to save for it! Loved this post and your one liners are the best, “I say, if you want something, work for it. Earn it so you can buy it. Even if you end up smelling of beans, your feet will be coming up roses” – where do you come up with these like? Im keeping that one!!!

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