What you need to know:
- If you are looking for someone to accompany you for window shopping, I am not that person.
- I would rather Google 'how to use hand sanitiser as sunscreen' because, yet again, I forgot to buy sunscreen, rather than just going out to shop for sunscreen.
Last weekend, the ladies in my prayer group planned a surprise baby shower for one of us. This surprise party came complete with a dress code.
We all agreed to wear purple dresses, and this, dear reader, was my first source of adventure because I did not have a purple dress. I have searched high and low, but I have yet to find something that exhausts me faster than shopping.
If you are looking for someone to accompany you for window shopping, I am not that person. I would rather Google “how to use hand sanitiser as sunscreen” because, yet again, I forgot to buy sunscreen, rather than just going out to shop for sunscreen.
My first stop for the dress search was to order online. Both dresses I received had problems – one was the wrong colour and the other was oversize. My confirmation bias was quickly setting in – that when it comes to online shopping, what you see is rarely what you get.
The clock was ticking… So I asked my colleague, Koki, to take me for a physical purple dress hunt. After going around two malls, I was exhausted – by the milling crowds, the sudden disappearance of all purple dresses (because how do you explain the fact that purple dresses were suddenly nowhere to be found?), and having to take off my clothes to try out new ones every now and then.
At some point, I was willing to settle for a maroon dress, until Koki put her foot down. When we finally found something that fit, which my companion and I were content with, I was ready to pay and head back to the office. But there was one last step to buying – bargaining.
“Dress ni how much?” I asked.
“Sh2,500,” the seller said.
I was just about to pay when Koki poked me painfully and said that we only had Sh2,000. And then the haggling began. When the lady selling said she couldn’t go below Sh2,200, Koki said thank you to the lady and that, although we loved the dress, we could not afford it. And dragged me out of the shop.
Images of all the shops and malls where we had unsuccessfully tried to get a purple dress flashed through my mind. The hunger in my tummy intensified, and I was close to tears. Because, surely, where were we going to find another purple dress, in that rain?
Shortly, the lady from the shop called out to us – she said it was okay, she could sell the dress to us at Sh2,000! I heaved a big sigh of relief because I didn’t have to start the search afresh.
“You do not just pay the first price they tell you!” Koki chastised me on our way back to the office.
For those of us who get sick at the thought of going to shop, here are my tried and tested shopping tips: One, go with someone who understands your taste and knows how to bargain. I feel out of depth and uncomfortable whenever I have to shop for clothes.
I almost always tag someone along, whether this is my sister or a friend. This way, I am with a second pair of eyes that will help me make the choice. This is the person who helps me with bargaining, and also, because of their experience, they are able to smell out overpriced items, especially clothes and shoes.
I am not saying you lose your voice when it comes to personal preferences, I am saying if you are a lazy shopper, go with someone who enjoys shopping, they will neutralise your laziness.
Secondly, try to make as many decisions as you can prior. Whether this means writing a shopping list, checking the type of dress or shoes you’d like, or the design of a handbag, it takes away most of the unnecessary stress, especially when faced with so many choices, and when you have to stick to a budget.
PS: The baby shower went great. We spent most of the Saturday afternoon bonding with Georgina, sharing a meal, and, of course, praying for and with her, ahead of the big milestone. This is also a reminder to surround ourselves with friends who truly care for you, who can sacrifice time and resources for you, and who show up in a big way to make memories with you.
The writer is the research & impact editor, NMG ([email protected]).