Friday, February 4, 2011

Buyer's remorse

Back in the salaried days, I would spend NZ$100 on books and magazines most weeks; usually books. 

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  

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 (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 alife'

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.


Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Michelle, I totally understand your dilemma. I can't pass a charity shop without going in for a look, I mostly buy books from them. I buy all my clothes from Ebay and spend an inordinate amount on books and DVD's on Amazon. It's just too easy! Here Amazon delivers next day. I just can't resist it. I must stop as I will run out of room sooner or later. Thank you for your great comments on my blog xx

Michelle Trusttum said...

Christina - I would be in dire straits if Amazon had a one-day turn around here. I've never been one for delayed gratification. Something I find I'm paying for more and more as the years roll on, and in so many ways.

Your blog is a delight. I so enjoyed your baby cons list recently and if I hadn't been so unwell at the time, I would have made one further suggestion: the bugs they infect you with.

How lovely to hear from you. Thank you.