At the beginning of this year I made a decision to start selling off my wardrobe on eBay. I had never sold anything before on the site although I'd often bought clothes, but once I figured it out, I was away.
As the Total Sales amount from Pay Pal climbed, I decided to start reinvesting some of my earnings. So I started 'watching' stuff on eBay, where you find something you like and press Add To Watch List, which means you haven't committed to anything, you're just going to watch it while it sits there, collecting bidders and maybe going up in price. Since I am now on the site most days, I have become something of an expert in the eBay movement of a couple of my favourite designers (Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Marithe + Francious Girbaud) and know exactly when something new is loaded up.
Pressing the Add to Watch List button at the beginning of the seven day selling period costs you nothing and teaches you a lot. At first I would find stuff and get VERY excited, wanting to purchase immediately because I loved the look of it so much. Going back regularly to my Watch List I would check out the photos and read the description over and over, desperate for the final flourish of bidding to happen so I could own whatever piece of clothing it was (I never did the Buy Now thing, preferring to hold out for the best price).
Then a funny thing happened. After maybe two or three days watching something, I'd find myself slightly losing interest. By this stage it is likely another item had caught my eye. After five days watching, I'd start to change my mind about loving the thing and by day seven, more often than not I had decided I wasn't interested at all. This has happened so many times since January (I have only purchased ONE thing from eBay so far, my cash count is now a cash-stash) that I can only think that it is changing the way I shop.
This seven day cooling off period makes me REALLY think about what I'm buying. It's completely the opposite from the 'just buy it' mentality I happily adopt while in a shop (I can't get in and out of a COS store without purchasing).
It links in with what Grayson Perry was talking about when he claimed that we are all 'addicted to the petty thrill of newness'. I think he might be right and I also reckon if you build in in a period of delay, wether it's seven days on eBay or a walk around the block in the fresh air before handing over your credit card,we wouldn't buy half as much.
What if this Add To Watch List principle was applied to all shopping for non essential items? Would it be like a ' cure all' diet for 'mistake' purchases? Would we have better chosen wardrobes? Would shops selling nothing but scented candles and porcelain chop stick holders all go out of business? Has anyone else changed the way they shop recently?