Bad days happen, and despite the pitfalls of consumerism, sometimes you've just got to treat yourself. The experts maintain that spending money on experiences is more gratifying than buying things, but when you're at your desk mopping exploded yogurt out of your purse after arriving late because of traffic, you can't exactly pop out for a hot air balloon ride at lunch. That's why tantric shopping is the perfect solution. Combining the dirty thrill of Facebook stalking with the delayed gratification of Sting-like sex, tantric shopping will ensure you get the most pleasure out of your unnecessary purchasing experience so that you can satisfy your materialistic urges and your spiritual sense of buying only what you need.
It starts harmlessly enough: go to your favorite shopping site and browse. Something will catch your eye: a color-block ruana, a pair of tasseled earrings. Realize that you deserve something nice and then decide what that nice thing should be. The amount of time you take to do this will probably calm your nerves without requiring you to pull the trigger on purchasing. Even so, put these treasures in your shopping cart, admire them, take them back out, and get back to work.
If you feel better, congratulate yourself on your ability to self-soothe and save money. But if you find yourself back in your shopping cart an hour later during your coffee break, that's when you know you're in trouble. This thing you were going to buy yourself on a whim has now taken root and is on the verge of becoming a necessity. Even minimalists will agree: you need these things. Imagine the drafts you'll ward off, the way the light will dance off your earlobes at cocktail parties. Your mouse hovers over the BUY NOW button, but wait until tomorrow, sensibly. If you still want them tomorrow, you can buy them.
The next morning, go on a Google odyssey. Research the history of ruanas. (Are you culturally appropriating by wanting one? How are they different from ponchos?) Explore the accessories trends for fall. Read the reviews, check out the Instagrams, the fashion blogs, the places that will teach you how to optimize the imaginary accessories that will change your life the moment you buy them. Tomorrow. The fact that these things aren't terribly expensive is not relevant: the point is that you don't need them, but you want them, so you wait as long as possible to possess them, to ride the fever as high as you can go until it breaks or you go insane. You're playing chicken with yourself. Do you want the earrings in red or blue? Should you get two wraps so you can leave one in your car? At your desk? At your mom's house? OMG: THEY'VE GONE ON SALE!
Let this last for at least a week. Visit your potential purchases every day as if they were in prison. Make sure you want them--really want them. Do they spark joy? If you are not fully possessed, then do not buy. It is only when you've been driven to the brink of madness by your lust yes, that you plunge your hand into your wallet yes, breathlessly rip out the credit card yes, and BUY THOSE THINGS. Free shipping? Coupon codes? Oh, god! OH GOD!
And it's done. You're panting. You're sweating. You're waiting... a whole week for them to arrive.
The agony, it burns! How will you cope? The minimalists were right: you don't own these earrings, they own you. Track the package: rerouted to Denver? Google frantically. Fantasize about how you'll look on dinner dates, when you get that promotion. Picture yourself breezing through the office on time, yogurt intact, looking effortlessly capable. It's not just possible: it's probable the minute the package arrives.
Hopeless, you come home from another battered day at work, and there it is on the doorstep like a lover returned from war: a box. You tear it open, and all the possibilities of the world are yours. Thanks to tantric shopping, you've turned a five minute shopping blip into a two-week love affair, all for cheaper than the cost of a hot air balloon. Now don't you feel better?