Four years ago I worked for a large healthcare corporation in California. A series of bizarre events occurred during my tenure with said company, and I found myself moving from the position of sales and marketing representative to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, complete with a corner office, company vehicle, and six-figure salary (blah, blah, blah). The experience I gained was good (in the event I ever want to move into a management position again), but the stress level was high and one of the coping mechanisms I employed to offset that stress was spending money.
Retail therapy is fun. The rush of pulling into a parking space in front of one's favorite store is magic. The heart speeds up, as does respiration, and one (one like me, that is) slides effortlessly into "acquisition mode". I could never get out of the car fast enough. My autonomic nervous system kicked into "flight or fight" and I was off. I loved shopping for clothes and shoes, but my favorite store was always Bed, Bath and Beyond. One can never have too many bath sheets, 1,000 thread count bed sheet sets, comforters, rugs, lamps, bathroom accessories, curtain panels, decorative curtain rods, pillows, throws or candles.
Times change. Finances change. Hopefully, coping mechanisms change in response to the finances.
I awoke today knowing that I needed a white long-sleeved stretchy cotton shirt to wear under my scrubs, as my obstetrics clinical rotation begins on Thursday. I contacted a friend who is in school with me, and she directed me to Old Navy. There is an Old Navy store about four miles from where I live, but I hadn't been there before. My friend gave me the address and I found it easily. Fortunately, I located a shirt for $8.50 and, after making my purchase and heading toward my car, I spotted a Bed, Bath and Beyond at the far end of the parking lot.
My heart rate sped up a bit. I started my car, put my forehead down against the steering wheel and called upon the gods of reason. If they answered I couldn't hear them and I drove to the BB&B parking area. Breathing rapidly, I leapt from my vehicle and strode purposefully through the doors into nirvana.
Colors, sounds, aromas and textures assaulted my senses. I stood for a moment and absorbed the surge of energy in that store. It warmed me from my center spreading up the back of my neck to my head and down the backs of my legs. I was soon bathed in warm pulsing comfort mixed with streaks of excitement. Glorious.
I spun around and headed for the doors. I had to get into my car and as far away from the store as I could, and fast. I kept my head down because I didn't want to make eye contact with a helpful store employee or (God forbid) lay eyes on a display containing 1,000 thread count sheets (offered at the sale price of $175 for a queen sized set).
I practically vaulted into my Jeep and peeled out of that parking lot.
My heart rate has since returned to normal. I called my husband on the drive home and told him what had happened. He shouted, "YOU CAN'T GO INTO THOSE STORES. THEY ARE A VERY BAD PLACE FOR YOU!"
Yes, they are. Score: BB&B - 0 Alyx - 1