Bullseye Binging: The act of buying multiple extraneous items to facilitate that garden party that you will never, ever throw, when you went in (to Target) with the sole intent to, for once, stick to your list and buy only those items that you truly need.
I have a problem.
I pop into Target with a list consisting of paper clips, a tri-colored printer cartridge, toilet paper, and a birthday card for my nephew. I come out with those listed items plus a cake pop maker, fluorescent knee socks, votive candleholders, a giant strawberry Lip Smacker, a ceramic pitcher for iced tea (that I am definitely going to start drinking instead of soda, it’s just that I have never had the proper receptacle for this tea and that’s why I haven’t made that life change), a Hello Kitty sweatshirt, scrapbooking materials, a baby blanket for my dog, and 2 artificial moss topiaries (for that garden party that I will never, ever throw).
The purging comes after I get my “considerations” home and decide what can really stay and what must be returned to the store. “It’s time to get real,” I think. I have experienced the high of spending, and now I am really going to be discerning in my effort to purge this useless crap and get my money back.
But it’s not that easy.
As I start placing the items in and around my home, somehow it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a garden right now, because one day I will. And those topiaries? Well, they will be killer accents next to my lemon trees that exist in my head in the garden of the home that I don’t own. So those must stay, but the mercury glass votive candleholders can go. The Hello Kitty off the shoulder sweatshirt? It has to stay. The cake pop maker can go… although, what a cute Sunday it would be to make those cake pops in the Hello Kitty sweatshirt AND the knee socks… It all stays! But I will definitely take back the printer cartridge, because those things are expensive!
I live directly across the street from Target, so I binge especially hard because I know that I have an actual chance of taking those nonessential purchases back on time due to the close proximity. However, I have this disease. It’s the “I never get to the taking back of things” disease. It’s not my fault; I get it from my mom.
We both have a “take back” bin we keep full of things that we never actually take back. We intend to, but other things in life take precedence and the Michael Kors mittens from last season end up in the bottom of my bin and forgotten about completely. My mother still has a bottle of Jhirmack shampoo in her bin. She definitely has “Jhirmack Bounce Back Beautiful Hair” (another thing I get from her), but don’t try to tell her that there is no retailer that will take that stuff back since that particular packaging hasn’t existed since the 80’s. She is still hopeful that one day, she will get to it. In fact, as I write this, I realize that there is one place that may actually accept that bodifying gem: Big Lots. That shampoo can stand proudly beside the crayon-smelling rancid lipsticks that they attempt to sell in that warehouse full of archaic cosmetics.
There have been countless times where I have gone to return something only to have the sales person reveal to me that the unwanted item was purchased eight months ago and their policy is the standard thirty days for a full refund. “I just bought this a few weeks ago,” I often say. Then I look at the dated receipt and am rightfully shamed with my inability to do math good. I trudge home with my head down and after a bottle of wine and a good nights sleep, I wake up refreshed with a brand new plan. I head back to the super shiny department store and find a different salesperson. I tell her that this item was a gift, from a now ex-boyfriend, and I would like to exchange it. Bingo. “Men are dogs,” she says with pursed lips and a raised eyebrow. My return victory feels good for a while and then I am faced with the lying sack that I have become and decide to go through my bin for punishment and purging.
As I sort through these items that I have so irresponsibly forgotten about, I can clearly see how this is the physicalization of all the things that I neglect in my life, and it doesn’t feel good. I go through periods where I do indeed take things back in time to get a full refund. Yet I find that I continuously digress back to my pattern of allowing my bin fill up, only to end up donating these things to Goodwill in order to purge them from my life.
It is the same vicious cycle as the Bulls-eye Binging that I can’t seem to stop. I intend to change my behavior, but it seems that I am wired to lather, rinse, and repeat with that same old shampoo.
At least I have good hair.
© Sarah Blackman 2014