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Once I've homed in on a product, I also have to ensure that the example I buy is flawless. The consequence of these dual, perfectionist obsessions is that, at best, shopping takes ages and, at worst, I go home empty-handed.
I find it so difficult to commit to buying anything that, as far as possible, I simply avoid the process. I don't replace anything - big or small, cheap or expensive - until sheer necessity forces me to, and impulse shopping is almost unheard of in my world.
On the rare occasion I do find myself buying something without deliberation, it gives me a strange thrill; as if I'm engaging in an extreme sport. It is, though, a thrill tinged with fear that I'm making a terrible mistake, however trivial the item I'm buying.
Necessity has now driven me on a quest for new rugs for my flat: the carpet is so thin that I can feel the lumpy concrete floor underneath but, with plans to move out of London, want to avoid the expense and upheaval of new flooring.
Two nearby, and adjoining, retail parks - with Next Home, Carpetright and Ikea close to one another - allowed me to shop around without travelling too far.
My first stop, Next Home, only had a limited display and the assistant directed me to their catalogue instead...where I got stuck scanning the same dozen or so pages again and again and again. I just had to be sure I hadn't overlooked the perfect rug.
It didn't help that the catalogue was on a stand next to the tills. The customers queuing nearby distracted me and prevented me from conducting my review properly - that OCD experience of things having to 'feel right'. Every time I was diverted, I had to go back to the first page.
The same thing happened in Ikea, where there were dozens of rugs on show. Up and down the aisles I went, over and over again, to make sure I hadn't missed a single one. Many were also hung on the walls and I walked past them multiple times, touching each one and mentally ticking it off as a 'no' or a 'maybe'.
There was so much to consider: size, pile depth, colour, price. Around and around I went, until I began to worry what the assistants would think - and to wonder whether I'd ever be able to extricate myself from there.
Somehow, I did. And, somehow, I managed to leave with two rugs and a runner, in spite of trying to avoid an actual purchase, by telling myself they were too heavy for me to carry and too big for my car (neither of which was true).
I still have one rug to find, but felt a great sense of achievement at buying anything at all. My idea of retail therapy is simply winning the battle with perfectionism.