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Everyone Catches the Shoppies in Spring

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Don’t you want to buy so much stuff right now?

A 1950s woman slumped on a chair, exhausted from shopping Photo: Debrocke/ClassicStock/Getty Images

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I’ve had the insatiable “shoppies” for the past two weeks. The term, coined (at least in my universe) by my genius friend Claire, refers to the compulsive need to buy something. Or, more accurately, several things. It’s different from the spendies, which is just the impulse to spend money. You can have the spendies and scratch that itch by getting a coffee when you don’t really need it, or adding an impromptu $5 sheet mask to your Sephora shopping cart.

The shoppies is about stuff. And not just any stuff: really good stuff.

Having the shoppies is similar to being hungry — starving, even! — but all you want is a really decadent meal. A handful of snacks just won’t do; you won’t feel satisfied until you feel truly full. For me, that meal would be spaghetti carbonara with extra egg and cheese and three-fourths of a bottle of red wine with no judgment from whomever is sitting across the table. Actually, ideally I’m eating this meal alone so that I can really savor every single bite and audibly moan to myself. The shoppies are like that, but instead of pasta covered in eggs, it’s a cable knit sweater or a pair of pants.

My shoppies kicked in last month when I was feeling pretty down and when the weather in New York was similarly crappy. I attributed the first telltale sign of the shoppies to these factors. But while I can usually satisfy them with one purchase, so far I’ve bought a bag and shoes and a body scrub because the package said “Redemption” on it, and my shoppies are showing no signs of slowing down. (And before you get any ideas, please note that I do not have this kind of money. My profession is writing on the internet.)

I was beginning to feel pretty reckless and embarrassed about this until an insightful co-worker of mine assured me that this is naturally the time of year for this kind of behavior. May is a shoulder month where you’re making a lot of plans but, at least in my experience, not actually doing all that much. Or, as my co-worker said, “when you're shaking off winter and really revving up to something but it's not quite summer and you're always tense but also hopeful??”

This makes me feel better about the text from Capital One I got on Friday about a “large transaction” at the Maryam Nassir Zadeh sample sale. And it feels pretty spot on, too. Right now I’m in the May of my life, approaching a big birthday and struggling with the (internal) implications of leaving things behind (my 20s) and moving into the next season (my 30s). And much like switching my closet over so that the boots and sweaters are in the back and the sandals and shorts are in the front, I’m taking my own mental inventory of the things I need to let go of to make room for other things. So while the shoppies aren’t great for my wallet, at least they’re helping me transition out of winter.