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The 5 Stages of Buying

Posted on 05 October 2018

The 5 Stages of Buying

We have all gone through the same thing as old mate Audrey here. That wonderful moment when you walk into a store and you see it across the room; that one perfect piece of clothing. That suit, those shoes, that bag, that tie. The one.  You walk closer, it’s calling to you, it has to be yours. You reach out, it’s the right size, the right fit. The stars have aligned and for one brief moment, the world is a symphony of wonder and joy. But then you notice something hanging off it. The price tag. Suddenly reality hits. You feel like you’ve been T-boned by a semi-trailer of common sense on the corner of Life’s a Bitch Street and ‘Hell No Junction.  The world falls from underneath you and your burgeoning hopes are cruelly dashed. And that’s when you begin that long and painful journey. That’s when you enter…..The 5 Stages of Buying.

Stage 1: Denial

The shock soon wears off and you think you must have imagined it. Yes, of course, this moment is far too perfect to be ruined by something as arbitrary as a leg weakening, heart-stopping price tag.  You put it down, then look again. You expect that you just got caught up in the excitement of finding that one, perfect item. You look…and it’s the same. You look again. And again. And again.  But then you figure it out, it must be on sale, or maybe even the tag got mixed up with something else. Of course! You ask the person behind the counter and they tell you…the tag is right.

That’s not true…that’s impossible! Courtesy of YouTube.

Stage 2: Anger

This all seems impossible. You feel like you’re being cheated. Daylight robbery, you cry, but that just leads to concerned looks from your fellow customers. Your anger builds and you look around the store for the hidden cameras, more annoyed and frustrated to realise they aren’t there than if they were.  Slowly you start to go full Hulk. You try and grab a rack of clothes and topple it only to find they’re bolted to the floor, and that those reps at the gym weren’t paying off as well as you thought. You realise that you’re also angry at yourself. Why do I have to have such cultured, fine and expensive tastes? You wonder. The attendants behind the counter don’t seem too fazed; they’ve probably seen worse (quick shout out to the heroes in retail). Someone shouts for security, but that’s when you enter the next stage….

‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ Courtesy of Roger Beaujard.

Stage 3: Bargaining

You’ve de-Hulked. Green wasn’t really a good look on you anyway. You’ve got to be smart about this, you think. You turn back to the counter, steeling yourself for what will undoubtedly be the hardest negotiation you will ever face. You move forward, and though you walk through the valley of the shadow of expensive clothing and having to wear last season’s trends, you shall fear no evil.  There must be something you can do, you ask. The person behind the counter isn’t moved. You beg. What do they want? What do they need? A kidney? Your first born child? Nothing seems to be working. You’re just getting blank stares and the remaining customers are starting to talk. If only you didn’t have all those other bills and payments you had to make to, you know, live. Then! Then it could be yours!  The store attendant still isn’t budging. You offer to cover part of the price with an original song just for them. The attendant hastily declines.  

Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Courtesy of Thought Catalogue.

Stage 4: Depression

This is the low point. You break down crying in the middle of the store. Small children look in shocked awe from outside as their parents try to hurry them away. All seems lost, it’s as if the world itself cannot possibly go on. Are you being overly dramatic? Possibly, but this is fashion. You do your best Willem Dafoe in Platoon and throw your arms up in the air, a sign of the hopelessness of it all. Fittingly ‘Believe’ by Cher comes on in the store and you find yourself wondering if you really do believe in a life after love.  You look across wistfully at that perfect piece you laid eyes on not moments before. It’s as if you’re a character in a French film about how life is but a pointless collection of random and insignificant moments put together in the long, slow march towards death (see: all French films).  But, just when you think there isn’t any way out, that’s when you reach…

We feel ya Willem. Courtesy of All Posters.

Stage 5: Acceptance

You have arrived. The end of the road. Nirvana. The realisation that you don’t need those shoes, or that suit, or that tie. Maybe, you think, this isn’t the one after all. You know your style and you know that there’s something out there for you at a price you can afford. You know that you can build a style that works for you, something that is your signature, that no one else can just go and buy off a rack somewhere.

You apologise to the retail workers and customers that are probably (definitely) pretty freaked out right now, and you leave. You’re safe in the knowledge of two things; one, that you know who you are and what your own style and fashion sense means to you. And two, that you can never, ever, enter that store again.

Courtesy of YouTube.

Congrats, you made it through the five stages. That is a freeze-frame worthy accomplishment.

Looking for something stylish without the ridiculous price tag? Check out the Mr Men’s store by clicking here.

Author: Will Dunn completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Screenwriting) at the Victorian College of the Arts. He is currently trying to figure out how to make that degree useful.

@ w_ilyam