For Big Shoppers

I always thought that “shopping stamina” refers to a person’s physical endurance for large malls and several carrier bags. I strongly felt myself to be one who lacked such a quality, one that is usually so advantageous for shopping in foreign cities within limited timeframes.

It was after a day of shopping in Singapore, that I wondered if there is also a mental aspect to “shopping stamina”.

As a lone shopper, I had taken my physical “shopping stamina” into account, and had scheduled shopping to be spread out throughout the day, including the evening. I had planned breaks for food and rests. I had thought about what bags to carry, and what shoes to wear, and what clothes allowed for the breezy entrance and exit of changing rooms.

And yet, late in the afternoon, I realized that the excitement of seeing so many shops and products was wearing off. The idea of looking at more things, and of taking out my credit card again, didn’t appeal to me. I wandered into less shops. I was only persuaded to enter one if I thought I could cross something off my list, or the “Requested by Other People” list. I mean, c’mon, shopping is about taking the time to browse. And that is regardless of whether those cute little cloth representations of food are on your list.

I realized that shopping requires certain mental activities: questions you ask yourself, and the technique with which you weigh the factors on making a decision to buy something. And this, in addition to physically dragging yourself around a large area with bags and bags of stuff, can be a drain on the unskilled shopper.

Here follows my imagined list of such questions:


  • How much did this cost at other shops? <– basic skill!
  • How would I personally value this item?
  • Would I be willing to pay for it at the given value?


  • Do I need this item? Would I use it?
  • Have I had similar uses or needs in the past?
  • Would there be significant future uses or needs?
  • Do I already possess an alternative?
  • Will it would fit in the luggage?
  • Could I look for options at another branch/alternative later on?

Is it really me?

  • Do I really like this item?
  • Will it fit my personal image? <– I’m sure people do this more often than they think
  • Does it live up to my unwritten standards for this type of item?

Gifts & Requests

If it is a gift for someone:

  • Will they like it?
  • Would they use it?
  • Have I already bought a gift for them?
  • How would other people in the social circle react to this gift? (Depending on whether it was a younger sister, or a work colleague, or a teammate, for example.)

If it has been requested by someone:

  • Is this what they asked for?
  • Am I willing to pay this price? (Assuming I am paying for this out of my own pocket.)
  • How will they react if I don’t fulfill their request?

Shopping Experience

  • Are there salespeople I have to deal with?
  • Will it be preferable to work with salespeople on this purchase?
  • Do I feel comfortable in this store’s environment? (Could I stay longer here? Do I like the way they’ve set out the shop?)

So shopping is no mindless activity! Like writing an essay, or attending a networking function, for the unfamiliar and unaccustomed, you can’t help but feel mentally tired from the demand on your brain cells.

Alternatively, I may just be overthinking while shopping. D:

Original text written in Jan 2011
Polished and published in Sep 2011
Illustration (mine!) added in Nov 2011