10 Reasons Shopping With Mates Sucks And You Should Go Alone
The Debrief: Because lone-shopping is the best (and most effective) shopping
Ever since I saw Clueless, I’ve felt like I should go shopping with a group of gal pals and sit around the mall drinking milkshakes with my new purchases. Except, whenever I used to go shopping with my friends, I’d feel bad for spending so long in the changing room so would end up panic buying everything. And then, as I got older, I started really hating it – someone always wanted to go into New Look even though you’d just been there, and then the group would divide and someone would see their ex and start crying. In the meantime, you’ve ended up with a bag of shit you’d be embarrassed to give to a charity shop and five Millie’s Cookies. The idea that all girls love to shop til they drop is a myth – it must be, because the idea of going shopping with someone makes me automatically feel tired and bored.
It’s different when you shop alone, though. When you shop alone, you get shit done. You go to the place, you buy the thing, you play Candycrush in the queue, and you get the fuck out of there. It’s basically like what I’d imagine a military operation to be like, but with more clothes and fewer guns (unless you’re really, really serious about shopping/a criminal).
If you remain unconvinced, allow me to convince you from my lofty throne upon which I sit. A throne which I bought during a particularly effective lone shopping trip.
You can have lunch when you want
You don’t have to succumb to the flimsy whims of other hungry people all on different food cycles and wanting different things at different times. And if you fancy lunch 20 minutes after you’ve arrived at your designated shopping region, then why the eff not? Or maybe have a coffee and cake now, followed by lunch in an hour’s time, followed by dessert somewhere else, followed by dinner. It’s your life. Plus, there’s nothing more annoying than being starving hungry and amid a group of girls who can’t decide where to eat so you end up at the food court eating a cold Spud-U-Like potato with beans. Yes, I did spend a lot of my youth at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.
You can take your time
Max out the amount of items you can take in, then walk back out, load up your basket and max it out again. End up buying one thing. Nobody’s remotely annoyed because there’s nobody else there – just you, and you’re chuffed because you picked up a killer pair of trousers that actually fit and weren’t bought out of time-guilt. Also, you can walk into a shop, feel the vibe is wrong, and walk straight back out again. Nobody will whine that they have a gift card and need to spend £25 before the day is through (which is the worst).
You can try on stuff that looks gross
...And not have loads of people going, ‘Let me see! Let me see! Aw, no babe it looks... er... fine,’ when you pull back the curtain and reveal the leather dress that’s transformed you into a giant sausage. As much as you say they’re going to give you the best advice, and tell you exactly what you should buy/shouldn’t buy, the only person who can decide that is you. Who gives a shit if your best mate thinks that mesh top looks ‘wicked’? You’re not going to wear it without feeling like a bag of oranges, so trust your own instincts and decide for yourself. Alone. With unlimited time.
You can cry
For anyone who has ever been bikini shopping, you'll feel me. Sometimes the lighting is too harsh, the clothing too tight, and you just caught a glimpse of yourself backwards thanks to an oddly placed mirror and holy shit – have you always had weird doughy back fat?! Why didn’t you realise this before?! Why did nobody tell you your back looks like a Greggs pasty?! Don’t worry, love, have a little sit on the stool, and a little cry and nobody will ever know.
You can go home
Bored? Go home without having to explain why, or hurt anyone’s feelings. Sometimes you start a shopping session and realise you’re just not feeling it.
You don’t have to pretend to care about other people’s outfits
Oh God, really, who genuinely cares what your friend looks like in ten different pairs of jeans? Nobody can tell the difference between the majority of them, and she’ll say things like, ‘I reckon this makes my head look wide.’ Which will baffle everyone into silence and you’ll turn into the Tutting Friend Stood Outside The Changing Room While Your Mate Says Her Jeans Make Her Head Look Big. You don’t really give a shit, you just want her to buy jeans so you can go to the next shop and find something you want to wear. We’re all fundamentally selfish beings. Embrace it.
You can shoplift in peace
You can spend however much you like
OK, so this makes me sound like I’m the queen, which I’m not, but sometimes if you’ve got a bit of extra pocket money (pay day) you sort of want to splurge. And sometimes you have mates who raise their eyebrows and say things like, ‘You can get them cheaper in [insert other, lesser store],’ or, ‘Oh wow, someone’s got cash,’ so you feel bad. This works both ways – nothing worse than having a friend who buys everything they fancy while you’re struggling to figure out which discounted, misshapen piece of crap looks the least misshapen and crap.
There’s no competition
‘Aw, no my mates aren’t competitive we love each other as individuals.’ Yeah, yeah, whatever. The moment your best friend bags the last size-12 jacket you’ve been dribbling over for lah-trally mah-nths is the moment your friendship will be carefully compartmentalised to make way for a passive-aggressive beast that springs from your mouth with the subtlety of a car crash. ‘Oh no, don’t worry, I don’t actually have any jackets and you have about 50, but that’s OK.’ Or, ‘Oh no! Oh, no, no, it doesn’t matter. You enjoy it. I’ll just sit here alone with no jacket.’ The depths we’ll stoop to. Oh, the depths.
You don’t have to dress up
You might not regularly need to dress up for the mates you see every day, but when you're shopping alone you can totally go for the outfit that is the most easy to get off and on without even thinking about what it actually looks like. Sweatpants and loose T-shirt makes for completely stress-free changing room time, whereas layering and any sort of jump suit will render you an angry, red mess after about five minutes. When you’re alone, you can think practically without worrying about someone asking you if you’re ill, or recently suffered a break-up (sweatpants and generally odd clothing are synonymous with breakups for me).
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Illustration: Marina Esmeraldo
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