Limit of Two

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shopping Strategies

Some stores just lure us in, don’t they? Everything they stock seems to call our name.  Like a kid in a candy store, we can find ourselves feeling powerless in the face of all this desirable merchandise.

It can feel like we have to have it.  All of it.


I want it all! And I want it now!

Now I’m not talking big department stores like Macy’s in the US, Myer in Australia or Marks & Spencer in the UK.  I’m talking those small boutique stores that are often owner-operated and where the stock isn’t so cookie cutter and predictable.

These stores can be particularly alluring because they stock items you don’t necessarily find elsewhere.  It feels like you might find something unique, something oh so you, in there.

And this can ratchet up the desirability factor, escalating those feelings of I simply must have this – I may never find it anywhere ever again in my entire life!

Or something like that.

Nobody wants to feel they are missing out.  Which is one of the drivers of many an overshopping expedition – the fear of missing out.  It even has its own acronym now – FOMO.  Often attributed to activities happening on and around social media, FOMO can be a real factor in the shopping that we do, and the feelings we have about that shopping – before, during and after we shop.

So here’s a tip I picked up when you have one of those enticing shopping boutiques in your world.

Limit the number of items you allow yourself to purchase to two.

It’s simple, yet powerful.

I have a store like this in my world, it’s a destination store that I often take out of state visitors to.  It’s a fun day out, there’s a funky bakery café next door to this beautiful boutique and I’m sure that my visitors to this store have contributed handsomely to the owners profits.

But for me, it’s a store where I can find myself vulnerable, quite quickly.  I love how she’s displayed all her merchandise (in colour groupings and in  little nooks and crannies around the store – you never know what you might discover).  I love the merchandise itself (lots of my tropical colours and lots of animal print, and lots of different and unusual things).  And I really enjoy the owner, Johanna, who is a delight and makes you feel like you’re a great friend who’s dropped by to connect and commune.

I use this rule whenever I visit her store.  I limit myself to purchasing no more than two items, if I choose to buy anything.  I can find myself admiring, even coveting, double or triple that amount of things in her store, which is quite unusual for me (I find a lot of shopping boring and uninspiring – so much samey samey, dreary stuff!).  So it’s an incredibly important and useful policy to have for me.

This “limit of two” strategy also interrupts that cycle so many of us who have overshopped can get into of “I love it – I must have it.  All of it – and right now!“.

If you’ve ever walked away from a shopping expedition with more bags than you thought you could carry and tallied up the haul when you got home with a sinking, gripping feeling in your chest of embarrassment, guilt or worry, then you know what this cycle feels like.  It can feel like a vice, an irresistible force.

It is a true compulsion, and it takes awareness (as the first critical step) to break its terrible hold.

Considering adding the Limit of Two to your conscious shopping strategies.


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