Shopping, sales, and greed

Against my better judgment, I decided to “browse” at the after-Christmas sales last Saturday.

Purchase #1: After a yoga class at the mega studio I’ve been featuring, I browsed through their book selection. While I’m an Iyengar devotee, I’m also curious about Yin yoga, and I was tempted by Sarah Powers’s Insight Yoga and Bernie Clark’s YinSights. When the staffer announced a 20% discount (that day only), I couldn’t resist and chose the latter.

Purchase #2: While I’m dismayed at lululemon’s burgeoning empire and beyond-trendy vibe, I found my feet stepping into one of their boutiques and my hands rifling through the sale racks. A sale. At lululemon. Unheard of. I found cropped Wonder Unders in denim Luon ($29; regular price $78)  and in brown organic cotton ($49; regular price $68). Whatever I might think of lulu’s corporate strategy, their flagship styles fit perfectly.

I checked the labels. Although “Designed in Vancouver,” both were made outside North America: the cotton one in Peru, the nylon, in China (egads!). Apparently, the company simply cannot find enough garment workers in North America. Staffers assured me of non-sweatshop conditions and efforts to spread its manufacturing worldwide, not only to China.

I wanted time to mull over them, but they don’t do holds. The upshot: I got both.

Purchase #3: I recently heard about Second Yoga Jeans from fellow yogi Dhana Musil. The company is based in Montreal and they manufacture in Canada. While I love to do yoga and to wear jeans, the combination seemed incongruous, like drinking a cappuccino on a hot summer day.

Still, when I later spied them at a yoga shop, I couldn’t resist trying on a pair. Wow. Talk about stretchy. I could squat and bend and probably, well, do yoga in them. At the time, I took a pass (I have enough jeans) but last Saturday I found them at another boutique for 50% off. I hemmed and hawed.

Again, I wanted a cooling-off period but they refused to hold the pair for me. Premium denim typically costs upward of $150; at $55, these jeans were a bargain! In a minute, they were mine. (Note: Those are my jeans but not me. I don’t do heels, as I’ve discussed here.)

I suffered from a bit of buyer’s remorse later. Do I really need more yoga leggings and a pair of skinny jeans (which I regard as street clothes, not for actual yoga class)? Of course not. There’s a huge difference between “wanting” and “needing” something.

Believe it or not, I am a frugal person at heart. Earlier this month, I read Sue’s blog post about trying to control and minimize her spending during her two-month yoga study in India. I had to laugh. It reminded me of my “junior year abroad” to England way back when. There, I accounted for all (and I mean all) expenditures during my entire stay. Whether it was spring break train tickets, Sainsbury’s groceries, or a pen for 50p, I jotted the details in little notebooks. I’d never done this before (and never since). But, during that period, it gave me a sense of perspective. How much does it really cost to live as a student in England?

Well, now that I have the leggings and jeans (all “final sale only”), I’ve rationalized their admission into my closet. But I’m reminded again that spending money is tricky with me. Pleasure. Guilt. Desire. Simplicity. Cost. Value. Function. Cool. The competing interests!

The trick is to buy only what you really need or really love. If either needed or loved, cost is no question. That’s the trouble with sales. Half price means nothing if you wouldn’t need or love the thing at full price!

Image: the justified sinner


  1. haha, i do this…. i avoided lulu yesterday, but we’ll be going downtown today…. if it’s crazy in the store there’s no way I’m going in. well- maybe to drop off some clothing donations for their charity. maybe.

    most lulu stores have pictures of their factories with their non sweat shop workers all wearing cute pink headbands- awww they must be happy!!!
    as far as I know there isn’t any third party certification- now THAT is something I’d believe over their costumer service or employees claims….

    but then- a sale is a sale 🙂

    I just found out about the montreal company- on their website they have a picture of someone practicing yoga in jeans…


  2. I am the same kind of shopper. I need an unusually long amount of time to decide whether I “need” something enough to actually buy it, when in all honesty I probably don’t “need” any of it.

    I find that the internet is very helpful for me, especially Amazon and Google. An example is the Gaiam yoga for relaxation kit I just bought. On the Gaiam website, I could get 15% off but had to pay nearly $7 for shipping. But I could get the same kit on Amazon (sold by Gaiam) for free shipping. When I realized that, I could buy confidently knowing I couldn’t get a better price anywhere.

    Of course, I can never bring myself to order clothes online but that’s a whole separate neurosis. : ) Happy shopping!


    1. Many thanks for the link. I will catch up on your Yin posts this first weekend of 2010 (yikes!). I glanced through the list and saw one that addresses one of my questions: Should we really try to stretch ligaments? Muscles, yes, but ligaments? Expect a post on my Yin sampling at the mega studio.

      Switching gears: I’m familiar with the Japanese language, and I’m wondering about your name, Linda-Sama. Is that meant to be the Japanese honorific, generally meant for others than ourselves? Or does it have a whole nother significance?

      You must be leaving for India soon. Bon voyage!


  3. Sama is my dharma name given to me by my teacher, a Sri Lankan Theravadan Buddhist monk, the first time I took the Five Precepts. think of samavritti breathing, “even breath.” “Sama” is the same word both in Pali or Sanskrit.

    As a dharma name it means “harmony.” when he gave me that name I asked him what he had been smoking…;) He laughs a lot but then he got very serious and said “I saw that in you, and it is easy for me to remember all the names I have given, over 100, but harder for you to live up to it.”

    he is right.


  4. Well Yoga Spy, you are a braver soul than I. In saying that though, I was wrangled by my 12 year old and her friend to go exchange some items at none other than “Metrotown” the 27th of Dec. One must understand that “Metrotown is the purgatory of punishment. The very trendy stores had line ups to get in, and the line ups at the till were insane! My pranayama served me well, as I waited outside the shops pushing my little one in a stroller, back and forth, inbreath and outbreath!
    Glad you bought the jeans, I purchased 2 pairs at 50% off and all my remorse has washed away! Love ’em


  5. I just returned from “Boxing Week sales” (that’s what we call this season up in Canada – though “Boxing Week” seems to last until late January, and start around Dec 23) and went through similar feelings of guilt.

    Though I have to commend you on your Second Yoga jeans purchase ~ I have several pairs and actually can’t go back to regular jeans. I think their branding and positioning is pretty ridiculous, and I don’t practice yoga in them, but they are really comfortable and have molded to my shape. I hope you enjoy yours, too!


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