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What I Needed to Buy... and What I Bought Instead

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Shopping is a joy. Shopping is a chore.

Really, it depends on your mood and the items on your list. But often it seems like there's a law of the universe at work: Whatever you actually need is the exact thing you're not in the mood to shop for. And what you really want to buy is the thing you absolutely, unquestionably have no need for.

Sometimes, the thing you need is cheap and mundane — say, paper towels — and you end up splurging on something fun but useless.

Other times what you need is actually the bigger purchase — say, a replacement bottle of perfume after you dropped and cracked your Chanel Chance and now it's working its wonders on that wad of paper towels in your trash can. Instead of ponying up $80 for the new bottle, you will opt for the easier, lazier purchase that gives you that feeling of accomplishment without the outlay of cash. (Perhaps more paper towels?)

Or, y'know, so I've heard. Here's a sampling of shopping purchases that were very different than what was actually at the top of the list:

What I Bought table

Shopping is theoretically easy. Being a disciplined shopper is the most underrated difficult adult task.