I sold off my fam­ily’s per­sonal things to fund my shop­ping

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - SHARE A SECRET -

There are many things I love in this world: My teenage daugh­ter Sofie’s* singing ta­lent, my pet Pomera­nian Boo Boo*, my hus­band Ja­son’s* corny hu­mour. And shop­ping. Yes, as su­per­fi­cial as it may sound, I am a shop­per­holic. It is my hobby, my ob­ses­sion, and my one flaw that made me com­mit “crimes” against my fam­ily.

Noth­ing re­laxes me more than flip­ping through the de­part­men­tal racks, try­ing and then pur­chas­ing clothes. Even if I didn’t need any­thing, I was just as happy vis­it­ing newly-opened bou­tiques to win­dow-shop. And as for shop­ping on­line – my email is filled with web store e-fly­ers, most of my phone apps are e-com­merce re­lated, and I have spent hours search­ing the In­ter­net for ev­ery­thing from the sea­son’s must-have sneak­ers to past-sea­son lux­ury bags.

My fam­ily has learnt to live with it – we were not “crazy, rich Asians”, but I have found ways to up­keep my “per­sonal eco­nomic and com­mer­cial in­ter­est” (as I have jus­ti­fied it to ev­ery­one) all th­ese years.

I “con­vinced” Sofie to get tops and dresses that I would fit into (luck­ily I am pe­tite and she is big-boned) so that I, too, could wear the lat­est styles, and I would only hit a store when there’s a sale. I have also taken to scrolling through re­sell plat­forms to find the best bar­gains. It was through th­ese sites, that I be­gun act­ing against my fam­ily.

It all started with this year’s spring clean­ing. As I was clear­ing out the fam­ily wardrobe, I found bags of my un­worn im­pulse buys. As they were all in good con­di­tion, I de­cided to off­load them on a re­sell app.

Within two months, I man­aged to clear half of them – the prob­lem was, I spent just as much money as I re­ceived be­cause I was buy­ing other peo­ple’s stuff on the app! What’s more, it fu­eled more shop­ping sprees, but I felt happy as I thought I was just us­ing ex­tra dis­pos­able in­come.

I be­gun try­ing other plat­forms, and spent hours up­load­ing pho­tos of my “goods”, look­ing through other peo­ple’s wares, and sell­ing and buy­ing items as though I was run­ning a busi­ness. But soon, I be­gan run­ning out of my “stock” of old and un­worn clothes. I had to sell other things in or­der to shop!

That was when I started pick­ing through Ja­son’s* vin­tage toy col­lec­tion and Sofie’s wardrobe. Ja­son had amassed a huge col­lec­tion of ac­tion fig­ures, so I thought he wouldn’t no­tice. I se­lected some with dam­aged pack­ag­ing, or those that I found ugly. For Sofie, she had a lot of fast fash­ion buys, and I just chose those I thought she had for­got­ten about or had no use for.

At first they didn’t no­tice, or thought noth­ing much of it when they couldn’t find their things. And when they did ask about a miss­ing item, I lied by telling them I did not see it or that they must have mis­placed it. On some oc­ca­sions, I even blamed our pet dog for chew­ing up the toys or clothes so I threw them away – Boo Boo got ex­tra treats from me for the times he be­came the scape­goat.

Three months ago, karmic jus­tice caught up with me. One Sun­day, I came home from a shop­ping trip to see Ja­son all sweaty and frown­ing. When he saw me, he started apol­o­gis­ing pro­fusely for los­ing my grandma’s jade ring that she had given me be­fore she passed on. I was fu­ri­ous, shout­ing and blam­ing him for not keep­ing it safe.

“I kept the ring in the hid­den com­part­ment of a vin­tage minia­ture red wooden toy chest box be­cause I thought no one would steal the box if the house was broke into,” he ex­plained, his voice quiv­er­ing with guilt.

I be­came silent, and tears started stream­ing down my cheeks; I had let go of that same wooden toy chest box two weeks ago, on a re­sell plat­form for just $10. At that mo­ment, I felt like I had sold away a piece of my soul just to feed my cheap re­tail thrills.

I never got my ring back – for some rea­son, the buyer of the box did not re­spond to my pleas. I never spoke of the “lost” heir­loom since the in­ci­dent… I have de­ac­ti­vated my re­selling ac­counts, spend much less time shop­ping, and more time find­ing cheaper thrills, such as walk­ing in parks, watch­ing movies and just pre­par­ing more home­cooked meals – qual­ity fam­ily time that doesn’t come at a price, but is in­valu­able and a trea­sure.

*Names changed to pro­tect pri­vacy.

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