This past weekend, my friends and I decided to take advantage of the Labor Day sales and hit the outlet mall. Everything at Kate Spade was 70 percent off, which is basically my idea of heaven. We arrived at the store and had to wait in line in order to be granted permission to enter, as apparently this is many other women’s idea of heaven as well and the place had become a fire hazard. I’d never experienced anything like that before, except for maybe when the first Chipotle opened up in Syracuse, where I’m from, and everyone damn near lost their minds.
When we were finally granted admission into the store, I felt like I had stepped into a leather-y, trendy warzone. If you didn’t act quickly, you would surely be knocked over by some lady who was beelining for a purse she had just spotted from across the room. Everywhere you turned, someone was yelling into her phone, “HEY! Hey! You there? I’m at the Kate Spade outlet. Everything is 70 PERCENT OFF! I know! Do you want anything? Okay, I’m going to put you on FaceTime and you can tell me what color you want.”
I quickly locked eyes with a bag that seemed to be screaming my name.
I liked the structure.
I liked that it zipped, making it convenient for travel.
I also liked (loved) that it was originally $335, but on sale for $150.
Yet somehow I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger and get in line to make a purchase.
I mean, what if I hadn’t seen an even better, more beautiful bag that was lurking in some hidden corner of the store? As I debated, I continued to circulate, looking at wallets and cellphone cases and cross-body bags. It was all so much to take in.
I knew in my heart that the bag was the one for me. But I’m a person who prefers to weigh all of the options endlessly, then bring other choices into the equation, then get 12 opinions, then doubt myself, even though I know what I want deep down.
This shopping experience was the perfect analogy for how I approach a lot of my decision-making. Which is to say that I prefer to hold off on making a decision until the last possible second, for fear of choosing the wrong option and screwing up my entire life. While it feels as if this course of action is the safer one, in reality refusing to make a choice actually is one, and it can often be a crappy one at that.
As I held off on getting in line with the bag I loved that day, I was letting the line grow and grow. My friends had now made their purchases and were waiting on me. A thin layer of sweat was starting to bead on my upper lip because the store was extraordinarily hot. If I had just handed my card over, I could have been out of there and strolling over to buy an overpriced smoothie to celebrate my purchase.
Finally I decided to run the risk of buyer’s remorse and bite the bullet. It was a wonderful, wonderful decision. I love my bag. I am poorer and fancier as a result of my actions.
Is purchasing a handbag the most important decision I’ll ever make in my life? No. But the process is reflective of a bigger theme. It’s easy to doubt yourself. It’s easy to hold off on making a decision because you’re scared you’re going to make the wrong one, leaving you with regrets. But making no decision is often just as bad as making a crappy one. Sometimes you have to just swipe your card and see what happens. If you end up making a not-so-great choice, you’ll find a way to fix it. And risking buyer’s remorse is certainly better than getting trampled by a bunch of overeager Kate Spade shoppers who were able to jump in line, leaving you standing there sweating and browsing.