November 29, 2012

There’s a field in your OkCupid profile (I’m the asshole who has never messaged an interested party back) that asks for the most private thing you’re willing to admit. The field is blank on my profile (all you need to know is that I’m into Catwoman) but I’m going to come out with it here: the most private thing I’m willing to admit is that everyday I spend at least fifteen minutes and up to, like, maybe four(?) hours online shopping.

Yes, I’m an online shopping addict. I’m even online shopping as I write this article, cruising for coats at Creatures of Comfort in one tab and peeping the upcoming Helmut Lang sample sale on Racked in another. I’d be ashamed, but fuck it—it feels too good.

When I say four hours, I don’t mean four hours only online shopping. I mean letting Claire Danes flip out on Homeland on one half of my screen while trolling the vintage and archive folders at Farfetch on the other. I mean interrupting my Very Important Research on Nicolas Ghesquière’s career at Balenciaga to scour eBay for his original designs because — now or never.

When I was eleven I used to play a game where I’d pretend I had ‘x’ amount of dollars to shop online at Le Château. The ‘x’ number grew as I did. And the venues changed, from Le Château to Guess to Neiman Marcus to Totokaelo. Then I got a credit card and the game changed, but not as much as you’d think. I still rarely make a purchase.

This Cyber Monday, Americans broke online shopping history, spending about $1.46 billion, up 17 percent from last year’s $1.25 billion. Stats say we also used our minicomputers, our tablets, and our smartphones, unlike ever before: more than 18 percent of shoppers used a mobile device to access a retailer’s website, an increase of 70 percent over 2011.

Cyber Monday is traditionally the Monday after Thanksgiving and, more importantly, Black Friday, which, if you didn’t notice, has crept into Thursday with “early bird” sales. I spent an hour on Thanksgiving Thursday three-way-calling between Barney’s and Chase because I — It’s the cookies, man. Those fucking $800 black suede and patent leather Acne hiking boots had to follow me from my late-night lust-clicks a few nights back and pop up as a banner ad as I was trying to read the news, announcing themselves as 45% off. Within 10 minutes, I’m manically triple-clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button with the wrong zip code entered and so then Barney’s charges my checking account thrice, putting a hold on all the money in there.  (Yes, I just confessed my checking account only held three times the price of a pair of on sale Acne boots; I’m a writer and a fashion victim). The whole dilemma was all the more guilt inducing for the poor, very patient sales reps who were working this most important of American holidays and kept wishing me a happy one and I was just like, “give me my money back.”

My point? Americans spent a lot of money online this past weekend. We should all have cookie disablers. The target advertising is only going to get more persuasive. Online shopping may be an addiction. And I got the boots!

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