Girls Own Annual: Art of Shopping
What is it in shopping which so attracts the feminine mind?
It must be admitted that the sterner sex are, as a rule, indifferent to the charms of such expeditions, and will suffer much, rather than accompany a lady to a round of shops. Others will go shopping, as they wrongly call it, simply to look in at the windows on the chance of seeing something pretty and cheap, when they rush in and buy it, and go home rejoicing and boasting to all their friends of the bargain they have lighted on.
Some advice on the art of shopping according to GOA (1880)
1. Never buy a thing simply because it is cheap because it will be laid aside getting dingy and out of date, and when at last a use comes for it, its freshness is gone and you will wish you had never bought it.
2. If ribbon (for example) is cheaper at a shop some distances from your home, consider the effort of getting to the shop (eg transportation) so what is gained by the cheaper ribbon is lost by the transportation and time (and exhaustion).
3. Cheaper imitations may be economical in the short term, they are in the end not cheap, but dear. A poor thing, of bad material or badly made, may pass muster for a little time, but very soon its outside gloss of respectability begins to fade, its true self shows through and everybody can see that it is nothing but a sham. And rightly too, for they are the very essence of vulgarity.
4. Buying a good thing, and besides lasting ten times as long as the inferior, it will look good and respectable, and unspeakably more refined.
5. Never pay more than a thing is worth, though it may be on sale at the best and the most old-fashioned shop in the world. On hearing the price, if you thinks it excessive, you should say so, quietly and straightforwardly, not in hope of getting it reduced, but to explain why you are not purchasing the item. The truth is much better than a number of foolish groundless reasons.
6. Unless one can afford to fritter away an amazing amounts of money, it is well on entering a tempting shop not to think: "Now what shall I buy, what do I want?" but to keep in mind the query: "What can I do without?"
7. A prudent shopper will: keep her eyes from straying onto temptations and turn a deaf ear to the shopkeepers chatter about the "special cheap line of gloves".
What is interesting is that this information (from over 130 years ago) is still quite relevant today. I have bought cheap imitation and it doesn't always last as long (not sure about its vulgarity!) and how many times have I traveled to buy a bargain and the cost of petrol and time is more than the bargain. (not on every occasion). And temptation - I fall into this trap more than I will admit and like point 1 the bargain is often stashed away for another day where it looses its "freshness"(!!). Point 6 is a good one - what can I live without!! Probably a lot of things.