Impulse buys – the good and the bad

As you may be able to tell from the title of today’s post, ‘impulse buys’ are a matter on which I am divided. For anyone who needs it clarifying, an ‘impulse buy’ is a purchase made, rather obviously, on ‘impulse’ – meaning in a very short period of time, usually without a trying on (for clothing items) or careful product analysis. ‘Impulse buys’ are often made whilst one is experiencing a false sense of happiness/hyperness, or when one is in possession of a large sum of money.

Occasionally, these buys pay off. I bought my brother a bright green knit cardigan from Cow Vintage in Manchester on impulse. I made the purchase so soon after picking it out as, at the time, I was consciously aware that I needed to buy him a birthday present. But the main reason i bought it was because I looked across the shop, and there it was, on a hanger at the front of the rail – long, warm, woolly and a fantastic colour to boot. To be fair, I did seek out a second opinion from my wonderful-actress-of-a-cousin (with whom i was shopping) – but nevertheless, I still made the decision to buy it after only a couple of minutes of removing it from the rail. I am delighted to say that James has worn the cardigan, and has been told that it is “very him”.

Other impulse buys in the past haven’t been so successful however, and one particular incident immediately springs to mind…

When i was 9 years old, I attended my primary school’s summer fair. This fair had all the stalls you would expect – tombola, cakes, barbecue – but this year there was an extra stall; a clothes stall. So there I was, 9 years old, rummaging through the piles of clothes for something bright, cheap and my size. The item I ended up with was indeed bright, cheap (£3) and in my size – but little did I realise at the time that I was holding a ridiculously garish t-shirt (sleeveless but with a hood – which crazy person had that idea? “Oh well if it rains your arms will get soaked but we’ve put a hood on so your hair will stay dry”) – that I would never in fact wear. I know it was only £3 (but let’s face it – that’s a lot when you’re 9), but it was the principle of it, and as I had bought it off a stall I obviously couldn’t take it back for a refund.

I would still encourage people to make impulse buys – because going with your gut feeling often leaves you with a great item that you will wear/use loads. Luckily, if you make an impulse buy in a shop with a returns policy, you can still take it back for an exchange/refund. This policy is a handy safety net as I myself know only too well (this afternoon I have to head out to exchange a lace cardigan that I bought on impulse in a well-known high street store, because when I got back home and tried it on again I realised that actually I wouldn’t get any wear out of it, and I will be very glad to get my £9 back from it!)

In conclusion, do keep making impulse buys! But just make sure you get a second opinion before you cut off the price tag.