Just this weekend I bought a handful of brand-spanking new things: a wedding gift for a friend, a pair of cheap pink sunglasses, and nail polish. But one woman from Portland hasn't bought anything new (except for food and personal care items) for five years. Katy Wolk-Stanley of Portland, Ore. is a member of The Compact, a group who aims to borrow or buy used instead of buying any new consumer products.
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When I first heard this, I thought um, no way. There's no way I could go more than even a month without buying something new. When I go to the mall "just to browse," I almost always walk out with a purchase, even if it's just a $5 trinket. How did this woman stave off the dreaded shopping itch for five long years? Then I realized … she didn't.
Even though Katy Wolk-Stanley got creative with her purchases -- sifting through thrift stores and vintage shops instead of buying new -- she was still buying stuff. That "shopping itch" we all feel is less about buying something brand new, and more about just buying something.
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The real challenge would be going a long period of time without buying anything at all. I'll admit: I doubt I'd last a month. Spending money can be stressful, but it's also satisfying. Going to the cash register, ringing up your purchase, and coming home with something new-to-me -- that is what satisfies the shopping itch.
What do you think? How long could you go without buying anything?
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