I know this because at one point a persistently pesky Financial Adviser asked me to keep a cash flow diary for three months. The idea was to shame me into seeing just how much I squandered, which could/should be invested in a diversified growth portfolio. Fortunately, I really disliked him and opted for debt-reduction instead. No trailing commissions forthcoming. I digress...
I adore bookshops. They are among the first places I seek in a new town, especially those offering a great flat white coffee. There's something intimate about selecting a book. It's almost as if certain volumes whisper to you from the stacks, tables or shelves. And when you strike it right, the way a book draws you into another world, well beyond your lunch-time hustling and bustling, is magical.
My preference is for independent booksellers such as Scorpio Books, a Christchurch institution, and Madras Cafe Bookshop, with fabulous coffee and home-made chocolate fudge slice to complement a comparatively small but well honed book list. The independents are true book lovers and know their stock. Sometimes you can sense their delight that someone actually wants a particular title, or their momentary misgiving at having to relinquish it. And best of all, I love it when they put certain titles aside for you because they think you might like first dibs.
So why oh why did I finally succumb and order via amazon.com?
Money. The two-for-one lure, including freight. To emphasise my buyer's remorse, I actually spied and coveted one of the titles at a local book shop (albeit a franchised New Zealand brand), but replaced it. Price check: $75.
Two days later I decided to call the shop and ask an assistant to hold the book for me, but I couldn't recall the author. So I Googled the title and, to be sure it was the correct book, I went through to amazon.com (which topped the search list) to check the dust cover. And there was not only the one book I did like, but several others I might like, and all at ridiculous prices, with discounted shipping for 'multi-buys'. Like an automaton, out came the credit card.
So much for the discerning consumer. I was just another lemming over the global brand's edge. And I really should know better.
To compound my slump below the buyer's line, I didn't select several titles of contemporary literary fiction, or from the classics, but this piece of eye-candy...
...and one of its reader recommended companions.
I am resolved. The next time I feel the urge to indulge myself in a little interior whimsy, I will a: visit the library, b: peruse the latest magazines, or c: visit one of the many, wonderful blogs, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, I shall wait six weeks for my package to arrive, by which time I will be so repentant, I will probably hide it under the bed. For a while.