I <3 SDM

Monday, August 24, 2009

Today I made a pleasant discovery: Little Miss Fortune's blog on Glamour.com today--my eye was caught by her most recent post asking readers which store is their danger zone. The black hole of spending, as she puts it. Hoo doggies, I can relate!

I think everybody has a retail weak spot. That one store that you can't go into without spending oodles more money than you'd planned. The one place where everything looks like a must-have item, a fantastic deal. For Little Miss Fortune, that store is Target. For me, it's all about Shoppers Drug Mart.

My feelings for this store could be described as borderline sexual. As soon as I pull into the parking lot, I start tingling in anticipation of all the goodies that await me inside. I go in with a very basic list of must-get items--tampons, dental floss and laundry detergent--and no matter what I cannot leave that store without spending a minimum of $50.00.

There are many reasons for this. Number one is good old-fashioned marketing and product placement. In the new stores, the pretty makeup displays are located as soon as you walk through the doors, all attractively lit and arranged so nicely on the shelves. Benefit, Clinique, Dior, they're all there begging to be sampled. Admittedly, I don't spend a ton of money in this section--I am a frugalista after all. But if time is money I've spent a fortune. I usually play with the makeup and spray on a test fragrance and hem and haw about whether $25 for a tube of mascara is worth it, and then console myself in the cheapie makeup section, where I proceed to spend waaay more than $25 making myself feel better about my cheapskate ways. A new powder brush? My 50th pink lipstick in the same colour family? Oh, Sally Hansen, you and your Insta-Dri nail polishes with the professional flat brush. Gotta grab a couple of them--cheaper than going for a manicure!

I usually get distracted by the ends of the aisles where the sale items are stowed. You can get some seriously good deals there--John Frieda shampoo for $4.50 instead of $8.99, body lotions that I wouldn't otherwise buy that seem like a total steal with their bright orange stickers. Is it still a deal if you wouldn't have considered buying it if it weren't on sale? Shut up, conscience. Around here is where I also decide I need to do some major appearance overhaul, whitening my teeth or self-tanning or colour-enhancing shampoo. Another item into the basket. Vitamins? Shit, can't have too many of those! Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching! Grab a magazine off the rack on the way out, along with a Thinsations bar, and lo and behold, my tampons cost me $80.00.

My love affair with Shoppers started when I moved to Charlottetown when I was 18. My first day on the Island, I shuffled up University Avenue after unpacking my boxes and setting up my room, feeling like a fish out of water ("Toto, I don't think we're at Rainbow Valley anymore!"*) and rethinking my whole decision to go to college in another town, when I saw it looming in the distance like a lighthouse guiding a ship to shore. The Shoppers Drug Mart sign. I picked up the pace. I remember that day buying a ton of crap I didn't need: translucent powder and a big fluffy brush and a stack of magazines and junk food. I remember it was more than $50. "Would you like an Optimum Card?" asked the cashier. That was the beginning of the end. From there, I became a whore for Optimum Points. Right now I have something like 150,000 points on my card--$150 worth of free stuff any time I want it. What now?

Everywhere I've gone, there is a Shoppers Drug Mart. The same thing happened when I moved to Halifax. I was pumped to live in Clayton Park, not only because it was near a grocery store and a drive-thru Starbucks, but mainly because of the humungous-ass Shoppers just up the block.

To this day, Shoppers is my black hole of spending. I've learned to curb it a little, but I cannot walk into that store without getting at least one item I don't really need. It just seems so practical at the time. It's a DRUGstore, after all. What's a girl to do, go sans feminine hygiene products or deodorant? I don't think that's doing anyone any favours.

*I decided to go to school in Charlottetown based partly on the fact that I could study journalism there and partly on the memories I had from visiting in the summer as a kid, particularly to Rainbow Valley fun park. Visiting PEI in the summer on vacation as a child and living in Charlottetown in the winter as an adult? Two very different things. One is less fun than the other. I'm going to leave it up to you to figure out.

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  1. Oh my gosh.. I know what you mean!! I live a 2-minute walk away from a Shoppers in Moncton, and I am constantly there! And I always waste tons of money in there too! I once spent more than an hour in the store, browsing like everything! I don't have the optimum card, but I really should get it.. I've been shopping there every other day now for 2 years! And now it's become my favorite Drug store! But the name sucks in Quebec... PharmaPrix.. Yuck! lol

  2. Ok that place sounds like the devil. Target plus Sephora if you will. I am very glad they don't have those in Orange County.

    Target, Ulta and Sephora are my devils. Mainly Target as I have the excuse that I actually needed something. Ulta and Sephora, I just avoid.

    Why is it the smallest things that get us so excited? Getting a new type of mascara makes me so happy. I have a problem and I just want to try them all out! And getting a new magazine....well that is a splurge so when I do it...I am in heaven.

    Have fun spending/avoiding Shoppers.

  3. I used to LOVE drug stores in high school. Then I graduated to Target, which has all of those things, and more. Furniture. Garlic press. Shoes. Sports bras. Tunics. Books. Movies. Pink tennis balls. Groceries. Pet supplies. It.NEVER.ends. If I get out of Target spending less than $50, it is a REALLY good day!

    P.S. I've had fewer than 3 of those days.

  4. I've NEVER even heard of it!!!! I need to see if there's one by me. I'm a total sucker for black-hole spending spots. I won't even tell you what I can spend in Old Navy on a bad day... or Target... or the bookstore... let's just say I don't go shopping at ALL unless I have money haha :)

  5. Wow, I saw this blog pop up in my Google Reader. I also very much <3 SDM. Reading your experiences makes me giggle a little bit because now I don't feel so silly for how overly excited I get going to that place. I never spend less than $50 in there either. I live in a town that doesn't have one, and I hurts me that I don't get my fix! But when I get to go to the city...watch out. Another reason I <3 Shoppers so much is because when I was still living at home in the Maritimes, my mom and I made it a ritual to go there. :) Love it! Ok, wow, I just blabbed on forever there.

  6. Hell yeah! Little Miss Fortune is awesome...she'll actually be doing a guest post on my blog this week :) Hope you're enjoying your week over there!

  7. Hell yeah! Little Miss Fortune is awesome...she'll actually be doing a guest post on my blog this week :) Hope you're enjoying your week over there!

  8. Renee--Get the optimum card! Get it get it get it! The points really do add up quickly, and there are all sorts of bonus points offers, too. All it costs is the time to fill out the application (which isn't long at all).

    Christina: Sephora would be DEADLY if we had it here. I know I'd come up with all sorts of excuses to go in.

    Sarah T: would you believe I have never been in a Target!? It sounds like the devil, for sure.

    Sarah the New Girl: Old Navy is a bad one too. Everything's so cheap...trouble is, the cheapies add up so fast!

    Kathy: Shoppers is an addiction, for sure! When I lived at home we had a Jean Coutu and it was totally not the same experience. There's just something about Shoppers that is wonderful.

  9. When I lived in the Valley, I used to spend my lunch breaks in Shoppers because it was the only place with A/C. And because I'm frigging addicted to the place. The expanded beauty section at the one on Spring Garden Rd? Deadly to my wallet. I was almost skipping down the aisle with glee over the arrival of benefit and smashbox in town. And unlike more froufrou joints like Mills Bros, I honestly need to buy shit at Shoppers, even if it's not actually the expensive cosmetics.

  10. J-Money--she is great! glamour.com has about a gazillion good blogs on so many subjects.

  11. Oh yes--the new Spring Garden Road location is pretty amazing. There's a good one on Tacoma Drive in Dartmouth and the Clayton Park location probably used to employ a staff member based on my spending there.