I have an overwhelming need. A raging desire. A void that beckons to be filled. I can’t deny it. I can’t fight it. It can lie dormant for short periods of time, letting me think that I am freed from the chains that bind me, then slowly and sneakily creeps it’s way to the forefront of my mind. It is a hunger of sorts, a gnawing on my psyche that eats away at my discipline until I feel starved. That starvation results in weakness, an incessant craving that grips me and won’t let go. I have to have it. I can’t control it. Give it to me now.
The words captivate me, screaming aloud in my mind and drowning out everything else around me. It’s all I can see, all I can hear and all I can think about. I try to turn away, even flip the page, then find myself going back.
No. I do not need this. I have 501 of these, all promising the same thing and most falling short, finding themselves in some big box tucked away in the closet. I don’t throw them out because I know one day I’ll be searching again for this exact thing that promised me the world, then let me down, just like a fickle lover. Product porn. I’m such a willing victim.
I work diligently to reign in my impulses, reflect upon and process my soon to be decisions and see all the way through to the next day. How will I feel? Did I really have to have that? Was it necessary? Will it truly bring value to my life?
But my need is overwhelming and it grows out of control. Then it’s like having an out of body experience, as if I’m possessed and watching from afar as I eagerly and quickly select my choices, fill in the blanks then hit one of those magical buttons – PayPal, Apple Pay. That finger, that one that betrays me every time, presses down or double clicks and then ‘ding’ – “Thank you for your purchase, Erin.”
I’m a junkie – a product junkie. And my retirement funds were reallocated to Sephora and a plethora of other retailers that promised me hydration and a dewy glow or volume and thickness. And the irony is that I know all of the tag lines, magical words and key messages are crafted by marketers. I am a marketer and believe in nothing related to sales and marketing – only fact, scientific evidence and supporting data.
So why can’t I stop? What compels me to collect products which will be today’s miracle then end up in storage after a week when it proves itself not to be that end all be all? I repeatedly go back to my tried and true, my inexpensive, result producing favorites that never let me down and always have my back.
This is what I have learned from being unable to resist getting my fix.
Something is wrong.
When my craving to buy things spirals out of control, it is my internal cue that something is missing emotionally or spiritually. I’m looking to fill a need with a tangible item, something that will show up on my doorstep days later and bring me some satisfaction or joy. Not the case. Usually by the time it arrives, I forget what I ordered. It’s as if I had a momentary blackout and unconsciously placed that order.
The less tangible things, the happier the spirit.
My skin care and cosmetic cabinet reveals where I am emotionally or spiritually at any given point in time. The happier I am, the fewer the products. The more conflicted I am, the more products you’ll find cluttering the shelves. The products are an escape, my way of drowning out what I’m going through by focusing on anything – but what I’m going through.
A savings account is your best friend.
If I could get back the dollars thrown away on products over the years, I’d be a very wealthy woman. It is not the magic of a product that brings us results, but the consistency of care that we invest in ourselves. So find a moisturizer and shampoo that works, stick with it and save your money. Your future will thank me.