Here's a snippet into the workings of a shopaholic's mind. (Ladies, don't lie to yourself, I'm sure you can TOTALLY relate.)
So for example, when I get to LK Bennett, I'm incredibly focused and direct. As I walk in, a pair of red boots with high heels catches my eye - but I quickly look away, and head straight for the display of sandals. This is how I shop these days: no pausing, no gorgeous new range of sequined pumps over there. I simply go straight to the sandals I want, take them from the rack and say to the assistant,
'I'd like to have these in a six, please.'
Direct, and to the point. Just buy what you need and nothing else. This is the key to controlled shopping. I'm not even going to glance at those cool pink stilettos, even though they'd match my new Jigsaw cardigan perfectly.
Nor those slingbacks with the glittery heels.
They are nice though, aren't they? I wonder what they'd look like on.
Oh God. This is really hard.
What is it about shoes? I mean, I like most kinds of clothes, but a fabulous pair of shoes can just reduce me to jelly. Sometimes, when no-one else is at home, I open my wardrobe and just stare at all my pairs of shoes, like some mad collector. And once, I lined them all up on my bed and took a photograph of them. Which might seem a bit weird - but I thought, I've got loads of photos of people I don't really like, so why not take one of something I love?
'Here you are!'
Thank goodness, the assistant is back with my lilac sandals in a box - and as I see them, my heart gives a little leap. Oh, these are gorgeous. Gorgeous. All delicate and strappy, with a tiny little blackberry by the toe. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them. They're a bit expensive - but then, everyone knows you should never skimp on shoes, because you'll hurt your feet.
I slip my feet into them with a frisson of delight - and oh God, they're fantastic. My feet suddenly look elegant, and my legs look longer...and OK, it's a tiny bit difficult to walk in them, but that's probably because the shop floor is slippery.
'I'll take them, please,' I say, and beam happily at the assistant.
You see, this is the reward for taking such a controlled approach to shopping. When you buy something, you really feel as though you've earned it.
We head towards the checkout, and I keep my eyes carefully away from the rack of accessories. In fact, I barely even notice that purple bag with the jet beading. And I'm just reaching into my bag for my purse, congratulating myself on being so single-minded, when the assistant says conversationally, 'You know, we've got these sandals in clementine, as well.'
'Oh...right,' I say after a pause.
I'm not interested. I've got what I came in to buy - and that's the end of the story. Lilac sandals. Not clementine ones.
'They've just come in,' she adds, rooting around on the floor. 'I think they're going to be even more popular than the lilac.'
'Really?' I say, trying to sound as indifferent as I can. 'Well, I'll just take these, I think...'
'Here it is!' she exclaims. 'I knew there was one around here somewhere.'
And I freeze, as she puts the most exquisite sandal I've ever seen onto the counter. It's a pale, creamy orange colour, with the same strappy shape as the lilac one - but instead of the blackberry, there's a tiny clementine by the toe.
It's instant love. I can't move my eyes away.
'Would you like to try it?' says the girl, and I feel a lurch of desire, right to the put of my stomach.
Just look at it. It's delicious. It's the most darling shoe I've ever seen. Oh God.
But I don't need a pair of clementine shoes, do I? I don't need them.
Come on, Becky. Just. Say. No.
'Actually...' I swallow hard, trying to get control of my voice. 'Actually...' God, I can hardly say it. 'I'll just take the lilac ones today,' I manage eventually. 'Thank you.'
And for the next hour as she sits at a cafe sipping her cuppaccino, all she can think about are those clementine shoes and the outcome? What do you think? Duh. A woman can justify any want to a need.
Well, I haven't finished reading the book but I'm ever so thankful I'm not as bad a shopaholic as Rebecca is.