Online Shopping Rewards

Name that phobia: Anyone know what my fear of retail stores is called?

‘Tis the season to shop, shop, shop. That is, I suppose, if you enjoy shopping, which I don’t. I loathe the process at any time of the year but at Christmas I’m manic about it. I’ve searched Google in an effort to find the name of my phobia but apparently there are so few people that suffer from a fear of shopping that it doesn’t have a name. But it exists, trust me. When I go into a department store, I stop and look at all the racks, breath deeply and attack the mission as if I were heading into battle. If I’m forced to shop alone, I will come home empty-handed. I simply can’t do it. I have lots of friends who think I’m insane; in fact, I’ve actually seen them get euphoric upon entering a store, like heroin to a junkie. But I start to sweat and I can’t breathe and my vision gets blurry. I try to shop always with a good friend, Linda, when I need to. She’s a professional, and she helps me inhale and exhale and — when I’ve had enough and start to hyperventilate — she will whisk me out of the store before the EMTs are needed. In fact, Linda pretty much buys everything for me, thank God.

[SIGNUP]Luckily for me there is the Internet. I buy whatever I can online, especially at Christmas time. In fact, my favorite thing about the season is using up my reward points. I have two credit cards that accrue reward points. I redeem the points once a year, during the holidays. In November, I don my fuzzy slippers and, with a cup of joe in my hand, settle down in front of the computer ready to spend, spend spend … points, that is. I feel like it’s free money, which it is, in a weird sort of way. But, let’s face it, I had to spend a gazillion dollars to earn them. Go to redeem them and a pair of sunglasses is like 12,000 points. At a dollar a point, I had to spend 12 grand to earn enough points for a pair of sunglasses? But I would have spent that money anyway, so it’s still all good. I peruse the gifts available and nab a fleece for my husband, a pair of earrings for my kid, and those sunglasses for myself. Just for fun, I’ll search for a car or a boat, readily available to the spendthrift cardholder that has earned three million points. Who the hell can have that many points? I’ll bet you Donald Trump can’t accrue that many.

When the points are all gone, I go coupon shopping, and check out the websites that offer coupon codes or search around for the site that offers what I’m looking for with free shipping. I’ll find the best price for something I want and then call the company and ask for a coupon code. They’ll usually give you one or they’ll offer some other incentive. When I’m all done, I feel great about whatever bargains I think I’ve gotten or whatever discounts I think I’ve been able to use.

It doesn’t really matter though because, hell, I’ll pay retail if it means that I don’t have to go into a store. If only my daughter had inherited my phobia.