Yesterday, I whiled away a bit of time at Goodwill. My lackadaisical stroll was arrested by a beautiful sweater. White. Cardigan. Neat cut: long with a self tie in front. Checked the label: Escada! Wowzer: exquisite, timeless, seldom if ever worn. My size too.
Then I spied a small hole (moth?). "Oh," I thought, "my mother can fix that for me." Then I spotted a few more holes, and sadly bade farewell to a sweater I probably would have worn hundreds of times.
This happens a lot. I am filled with empathy (perhaps misplaced) for the person who bought it, thinking it a super-expensive but perfect sweater, then spotted the holes, and, in horror, donated it, hoping never to see it again.
If I were to buy something as expensive as that sweater, I would look and look, in search of the perfect item. Like most quests for perfection (the Holy Grail comes to mind), this one would be filled with self-doubt.
Even if a perfect sweater revealed itself, some moth or splash of coffee would no doubt be drawn to it as well.
Sometimes evil people appear to ruin your perfect WHATEVER. I remember walking in downtown Bloomington on a slushy day. A car of screaming (frat?) boys swerved toward me, sending up a huge splash from a puddle onto the sidewalk where I stood. They cheered as I was covered in greasy slush. All my clothes were ruined; no amount of cleaning would get out the grease. Of course, since I was a graduate student, I continued to wear the items, since I didn't have the money to replace them right away.
Like many people, I have a self-destructive attraction to perfection. I remember reading 20 articles on Antigone, searching for the perfect combination of perspectives to share with my beginner students: a handful would have sufficed.
At least I don't have to worry about perfectionism in attire. At thrift stores, you find what you find. There's more than enough that is almost perfect.
So in addition to saving money, thrift stores save you from perfectionism in at least one little pocket of life.
Do you suffer from shopping perfectionism? What do you do?