Buyer’s remorse: what man feels when QVC purchase arrives
It happened late one night while my wife slept in the next room. I’d been flipping innocently through television channels with nothing much on my mind – a normal state for me – when I landed on QVC, one of those home-shopping networks.
Normally, I would have zipped right on by, believing only sad, lonely, desperate people get hooked into watching those shows with promises of a better life through shopping. But then I saw the antique-style rosewood Chinese table.
Since the show was called “The Wonders of China,” I paused for a moment, and that turned out to be my big mistake. In a matter of seconds, the hosts gained a foothold in my head, breaking down the barriers that keep me from obsession.
They smiled and explained all the wonderful things I could do with the knick-knacks, pots, shirts and vases they were selling. They showed me the light.
Two hours later, I awoke to find my credit card clutched in my hand, the phone covered in perspiration and some strange scribble about a hand-carved, Monkey King walking stick written on a piece of scrap paper.
Since I didn’t understand exactly what had happened, I wiped the drool from the side of my mouth and headed off to bed.
While I slept, however, I had the strangest dreams. I could still hear the hosts’ voices weaving through my mind. They cooed to me that I was their only friend and that all the other viewers weren’t as worthy as I was. My God, I dreamt, I was in the happiest place on earth.
The next morning I knew I had purchased the walking stick, and I was ashamed. Well, only part of me was mortified. Another part of me secretly rejoiced in my clandestine purchase. Everything would have been fine, my wife would have never have known, if it weren’t for a bizarre coincidence.
On the day my QVC gift arrived, my wife and I happened to be traveling back from Summit County together. Normally, I reach the post office first and check the mail before my wife ever has the chance, but on this day; it was a little different.
For not only was my wife with me, but as we pulled up to the doors, my mom also showed up. When I opened our box to find that little pink slip, I learned how an alcoholic feels the first time someone discovers that hidden bottle of vodka.
“What’s that,” my wife asked as I tried to hide the slip.
“Uh, nothing,” I lied.
“It looks like a package slip,” she said. “They’re getting ready to close, so you’d better go pick it up.”
I could no longer contain myself, and I sprinted to the window in time to grab my package. Unfortunately, “QVC” was printed all over the box, and there was no concealing what I had done.
My wife and mother looked at me like I’d just reveled some kind of secret, double life.
“When did you buy that?” my wife demanded.
“While you were asleep,” I confessed.
She stared at me as if I’d just told her I’d preformed a satanic ritual while she was in the next room dreaming of sunny beaches. That’s when I realized she didn’t understand – and never would.
“They’re my friends,” I blurted out. “They love me, and want me to be happy with my new purchase.”
She didn’t say anything. She just walked away to be consoled by my mother, who shook her head and whispered, “You were always my good son.”
And that’s when I knew I had a problem.
I’m in therapy now, and I’m getting better. I’ve learned to ignore the voices in my head telling me to buy, buy, buy. But there are times, usually late at night when nobody is around, that I’ll flip on the television and wonder how my old friends are faring without their best customer.
Then I think that maybe I can take just one look. I can stop if I want to. Just one purchase can’t hurt.
Andrew Gmerek writes a regular column in this space every Friday. We heard a rumor he bought this column from a shopping channel. Wait until he sees the pink slip on that one.
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