Diary of … a shopaholic

Sydney Cook is a junior communication studies major and an athlete on the women’s volleyball team. Her hobbies include painting her nails, watching beauty videos on YouTube and online shopping. She hopes to one day be successful enough to feed both her shopping addiction and her future family.

Hello, my name is Sydney Cook and I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic. I don’t know how long I’ve been one, but I do know that every time I shop, I end up broke and hungry because I’ve spent all of my money on clothes. I am not fazed by the fact that I live half of my life broke — but well-dressed — because when I look at my bank statement and it reads H&M, MissGuided, Necessary Clothing and Sephora I can’t help but smile.

The mall is the most magical place in the world to me other than Walt Disney World, but that’s a different story. As I ride up the mall escalator, I feel like I’m riding the stairway to heaven. It doesn’t matter that I rarely wear the same thing twice or that my clothes are, literally, overflowing from my closet and drawers, both at home and in my residence hall. Nor does it matter that my friends have fun “shopping” in my closet when they need something cute. Without a doubt, the majority of my money goes toward buying myself things I don’t need. I also spend a lot of time asking my parents to buy my necessities (so I can save my money for the things I really need. Duh!) and if I can’t afford something, like every iPhone that has ever come out, that’s what Mommy and Daddy are for.

I don’t think I am to blame for my problem though. My mom has fed my shopping addiction since I was a little girl. Growing up, she always bought my sister and me the latest RocaWear outfits by JayZ and BabyPhat by Kimora Lee Simmons. My mother also fed into my online shopping addiction throughout high school since I didn’t have my own debit card. My mother loves sales and deals; she’d buy a cow if it were on sale and figure out where to keep it later. So whenever I wanted her to buy me something online, I’d send her a wish list from the particular store with a coupon code. It was that simple!

Online shopping 101: almost every online store has multiple coupon codes ; always check Reatailmenot.com before purchasing. Can you guess who taught me that? My mother, who clearly wants me to continue splurging. After graduating and moving to college, I got my first debit card and have been running to meet the UPS man ever since.

Online shopping has made my life so much easier. Being a full-time student-athlete cuts into my mall time. When I think about the large crowds of people running through Sawgrass Mills Mall and the parking struggles at Aventura Mall, I find myself getting anxious. But instead of going to the mall, I can just buy it online… Duh. I always have open tabs on my web browser of online shopping carts full of clothes, shoes and makeup waiting for purchase. The secret is that I have the cart there for at least three days as I contemplate if I really need it, and by the third day, Forever 21 has emailed me saying, “Hey come back, the items in your shopping cart miss you!”

As much as I want these items, there are plenty of fish in the sea so, before I can fully commit, I have to go through my daily shopping routine because there might be something hotter on the market. Every day I cycle through my favorite online retailers like PacSun, TopShop, and Forever 21 to see what’s new and what’s on sale. My motto is that promotions and new item announcements can happen, literally, every hour, and I’ll never know unless I check. I get way more free shipping emails and emails promoting new arrivals than messages from actual people. The emails that make my heart skip a beat are the ones that announce a store is having a site-wide sale. What? 30 percent off everything? Yes please.

There is only one thing about shopping that drives me into an uncontrollable rage: when something I want is sold out, and = I can’t feed my addiction. Nothing hurts me more. Why can’t online stores have unlimited amounts of every size and every color? So to avoid feeling this pain as much as possible, I end up reeling in those items in that Forever21 shopping cart because I do, in fact, need it. Stop judging me.

There have been many times I’ve felt the pain of a store selling out of an item I really needed. This summer, I bought a black halter top from Forever 21 and, sadly, left the white one. When I got home I realized what a horrible thing I had done so, I went back to Forever 21 at Pembroke Lakes Mall the next day and there was no white halter top in my size. I lectured myself, “Sydney, why did you not get it yesterday?” The possibilities of me squeezing into the extra-small or eating three cheeseburgers and growing into the extra-large ran through my head. I usually like to limit myself to one cheeseburger so, I simply shopped for other things. “Oh, I’ll get this necklace; it’s cheaper, and it fits no matter what I eat.”

At the end of the day, shopping makes me feel better. It’s a feeling I can’t find anywhere else. Whenever I’m sad over a dude, fighting with a friend or bored as hell, I shop. I purchase. I am instantly cheered. When everything else falls apart, I can still find something I want and that is the most comforting feeling ever. Those who believe money can’t buy happiness obviously haven’t been shopping at the right places. So, yes, I may be broke, but I’m happy and well-dressed.

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