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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 126 - Intervention

9 Oct 2015

Hi everyone,

Summer is over and I hope all of you had a good one!

Larry and I made our annual trek to Sauble Beach by Lake Huron, and surrounding areas.  Larry finally got a vacation after a busy work schedule.  Music and film work keeps him on his toes, so, we looked forward to a real vacation.  As in the past few years, we stayed in Port Elgin at the Sand Castle Suites.  This year, we made it up to Tobermory and went on a short cruise on a glass bottom boat which ventures out to Flowerpot Island.  It is a scenic trip and you can view shipwrecks around Tobermory.  I was able to pick up a book about Tobermory shipwrecks -- quite interesting.  We enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets in Southampton, Sauble Beach and Port Elgin -- an experience which is one of life's best treats!  Sunsets and sunrises seem even better at the beach and by the water!  I also insisted we visit Wiarton Willie as well -- it's a much better time of year to visit Willie because making the trek to Wiarton from Toronto in February for Groundhog's Day is not always ideal!  Wiarton Willie has a new house where he can be more easily examined by researchers who would like to probe his life -- like a real celebrity.  Willie is a bit shy but glad he poked his head out to be greeted by his fans - some local kids and myself!  The local adults think he is terribly spoiled, of course.   

I'm also thrilled that one of my best and long-time friends, Tracy, came for a visit.  She has invited me to visit her and her family in the east coast for a few years, and I still have not taken the opportunity, so, she came to see me and her other good friend.  I've said to friends and acquaintances, Tracy is like my sister, and she will do whatever she can for a friend.  She will travel thousands of kilometers -- literally.  I have mentioned our two big road trips in the past and I have some great, crazy, warm memories of them!  I learned a lot from those road trips and Tracy was a great teacher!  I did most of the driving when Tracy came to visit me, but, I'm glad I had a chance to ride in her cute Miata convertible, fondly known as Layla (which I discovered was the name given by a previous owner).  During Tracy's visit, I took her to the Promenade Mall.  I mentioned that the manager at the Coach store had offered me a good discount and I was planning to go back.  This leads me to this month's episode of my life which I call Intervention.

When I told my niece-in-law, Olet, about the crazy shopping spree I've had at Coach and that my friend, Jaimie, offered to do an intervention on me, she said Intervention sounds like a good name for a reality show!  So, here's the opening scene of my "reality show".  An unsuspecting shopper, named Kat, enters a Coach store.  She did not realize there is 50% off at the retail store.  A very friendly and sharp manager approaches her and Kat ends up buying a black crossbody handbag.  If Kat doesn't like it, she can return it according to store policy which is what happened.  Kat takes the purse home and realizes it is a bit too small.  The manager said, try and put what you want in the bag and see if everything fits.  So, Kat ends up returning the crossbody bag but she sees another larger handbag she likes and a matching wallet.  At 50% off, why not pick up another cute wallet and some gifts too?  That shopping spree was a damaging battle, but, what happens later is war!

Months after the semi annual sale at Coach, Kat receives a phone call from the Coach manager she had met before.  She remembers her well.  Kat knew that that manager had transferred to another store.  How odd that she would receive the call a couple days after receiving a "special invitation" to a Coach sale -- not as good as 50% so she had not even considered attending.  But, the manager said she had a special deal -- 40% off, but, only to a select number of customers she had chosen.  Kat made her list, of course!  Can you imagine how war starts?  What seemed like a short, exciting shopping spree can turn bloody!  How bloody?  Well, "cherry red" or "oxblood" -- which happens to be Kat's two favourite Coach colours for the new Fall 2015 line.  Her select handful of girlfriends were receiving almost daily text messages and photos about the new Coach Fall 2015 and when she said, "I can get you 40% off," they got excited!  They ended up joining an unexpected war.  Kat said, "I can pick it up and deliver! And, I will accept cash or personal cheques, but, no credit cards please."

After a two-week frenzy at a few Coach stores, one of Kat's friends said, "Let me know if you need intervention."  But, with the sale drawing to a close, it seemed that Kat would be okay soon.  She would not have to be locked up and have a 10 km restricted access to any Coach and Coach outlet store!  She should probably unsubscribe to all the daily emails from Coach, but, at this point, the danger seems to be over.  The battle is over until the next Coach sale on Boxing Day, but, is the war over yet?  Will she be a victim of black cherry and oxblood for years?  Will Kat's girlfriends need to do intervention months down the road? 

My potential reality series called "Intervention" may not sound quite as exciting as Keeping Up With the Kardashians episode, although it is quite a coincidence that my name begins with "K", just like Kris, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe - LOL.

When I mentioned to my friend, Jaimie Milburn, who was one of my guest bloggers this year, that I was thinking about writing about the shopping spree I've had at Coach, she mentioned the term "addictive personality".  Who, me?  Yes, of course.  Right away, she told me to avoid drugs and alcohol.  Okay, no problem!  Oftentimes, when we hear about addictions, the most common ones might be drugs and alcohol.  We may not have considered other behaviours like shopping, food, sex, social media, etc. as things which can also be addictions. 

How do we know if we have an Addictive Personality?  According to an article, "5 Signs You Have An Addictive Personality" by Roxanna Jaiden (Ref. www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15682/5-signs-you-have-an-addictive-personality.html), check the following signs:

1.  Inability to Control Impulsive Behaviour

What do you say to yourself when you walk into a store?  You can replace the word "purse" and "wallet" with other items.

a.  "Oh, this is pretty, and it's on sale.  I'll buy this purse.  Treat myself because it's my birthday."
b.  "I don't have anything like this wallet.  Mine is kind of falling apart.  I haven't bought a wallet in five years."
c.  "I love this wallet and it matches my new purse!  The other wallet is nice and it also matches my new purse.  Well, I'll just get both.  Oh, that's a nice handbag and it's larger than the first purse I want!  That would be good for taking to the office -- but, of course, I need a matching wallet for that too.  The shoes match the handbag!  SOLD!"

So, what do you think happened when I walked into the Coach store during the sale?  I discovered that Coach sets a limit on leather goods (i.e. handbags and wallets only) -- no more than 10 for a two-week period.  Their policy is in writing, usually beside the cash register.  If you have to be told or be reminded about that policy because you have or would go over their limit, then you might have an addictive personality!  If you had to wait a day later, past the two-week time period, in order to purchase more items, you might have an addictive personality and impulsive disorder.  The other possible sign of an addiction to shopping is if your credit card is physically dent - assuming you have only one credit card.

Solutions?  As my friends have said, "Slowly walk away." What they're saying is, try and be rational and keep calm.  The excitement can seem great until you get your credit card bill.  Sometimes, we need to admit that we need help.  So, to all my girlfriends who have been there for me, thanks!  I think I have made some money back buying stocks in Coach.  Good or bad, that seems to be part of my solution for my shopping addiction - buy stocks in the company! 

2.  Weak Commitment to Personal Goals and Values

I have no doubt that I can find the next new thing and latch on to it like a bulldog.  As the article says, it is tricky to overcome this trait of an addictive personality.  The only thing is, I have to be reminded to evaluate my current goals.  Do I want to risk overspending and go into debt?  Will this hurt my relationships with others?  Will my addiction have other repercussions on myself and others?

We often take action and feel that it will only have an effect on ourselves.  Impulsive behaviour often has effects on others.  We know that being addicted to drugs and alcohol has physical consequences to the user, but, it can also burden their families, friends and strangers. Addiction to alcohol can cause you to not think rationally, to the point where you get into a car and with no thought about the safety of yourself and others on the road, you can kill innocent people.  If there is anything in this world that matters it is LIFE and DEATH.  For me, anything else is small stuff.  But, any decision which can effect the LIFE and DEATH of a living being is BIG.  So, we can either be selfish or we can say, this is not worth it.  Let's take that high road and say to ourselves, we need to set goals and value the big stuff! 

3.  Constant Stress and Anxiety

Do we have any regrets about our impulsive behaviour? Feeling any anxiety because of the disappointment others have expressed about your actions?  Is battling the impulsive behaviour weighing you down?

I was stressed over a two-week period during the Coach sale.  I even dreamt about the next handbag I wanted and hoped to buy it before the sale ended.  I also wanted to get the largest discounts, so, that meant buying more items, thinking I can get Christmas gifts at the same time.  I thought that I would be safe after the sale was over, but, I wandered into another Coach store and bought an item at regular price.  That's when I said, it must stop now!

The feeling of anxiety has now passed.  I have passed by Coach stores several times in the past week and have not gone inside.  In my mind, I just said, "Keep walking.  Keep going.  Do not enter Coach.  Do not spend $200.  Otherwise, you are going to be locked up by Jaimie and your other friends!"  And, as long as that tape is playing in my head, I hope that danger is averted for now.  So, if you need help, get it. 

4.  Recurring Themes of Social Alienation

People with an addictive personality or impulsive disorder may have short-lived connections and abandon deep, long time social bonds.  I think speaking continuously about my impulsive purchases can turn people off.  I would not be surprised if some of you are tired of my text messages and photos and continuing on about my crazy shopping spree, especially in the past couple weeks.  And, if this continues, I will likely lose some friends -- good, strong relationships. 

Last year, I spoke about my tour of OLG slots, racetracks and casinos in Ontario.  I was determined to attend and play at as many places as possible.  My road trips and gambling is another indication of my addictive personality.  I received some amusing responses, but, if that had continued on as much as it did last year, I doubt anyone would be amused.  And, I would be on the road to social alienation.

I admit that after the last crazy shopping spree at Coach, I will likely move on and eventually find another bone in my mouth to hold on to, for a time period.  I am a work in progress, so, hopefully I can learn from these articles and with support of some very good friends, perhaps I can find more worthwhile goals and ambitions.

5.  Mood Swings and Negative Self Worth

While a person with an addictive personality is thrilled by a new addiction or impulse, the happiness eventually wears off and he/she is left with something less palatable and possibly destructive.  The thrill of being on a rollercoaster ride wears off.  Some people want to get back on the rollercoaster over and over again.  It may not seem to effect them at all until they try to walk and eat.  The thrill that was once in their hearts turns their stomachs upside down, right side up and upside down and then, their bodies are confused by what is normal.

Admitting that you have a problem is a good step, however, the solution is to repair one's self image.  People with addictive personalities most likely have a negative self image.  We beat ourselves up on many levels.  We are not competing with others, but, we are competing with ourselves.  Our motives, standards, actions and accomplishments are scrutinized by our toughest critic -- ourselves!  So, when it seems like we have not accomplished some big stuff in life -- well, we just need something to grasp on to like a bulldog and maybe we can be happy with that for awhile.  I love stationery and my obsession includes paperclips -- every size and colour of paperclips.  When I felt like regular silver trombone paperclips was not enough, I had to buy fancy Italian paperclips - gold ones!  I've even bought giant gold trombone paperclips.  But, trombone paperclips get boring and so I had to get small, medium and large black bulldog clips.  Why settle with just black clips?  I saw coloured bulldog clips and decided that would be nice!  Then, I had to get different sizes and colours of bulldog clips -- with rubber handles!  I don't even know how to describe why it was so important to find different sizes, colours and grips for those bulldog clips.  Passion or obsession? 

It may seem odd to talk about paperclips, but, with every addiction, it can escalate to something worse.  The odd hobby and fascination with something as small as paper clips can turn into something more serious.  The world has or had geniuses obsessed with a hobby which has changed the world.  Although we may consider an obsessive personality an impulse disorder as negative, there are people who may have accomplished great things which we celebrate because of their personality.  Unfortunately, it has also led to the destructive behaviour and destruction of lives.

I believe that our world is filled with more people with addictive personalities than we may think.  We may not have light bulbs, planes, telephones, iPhones and iPads, brilliant works of art, etc. today if it were not for the persistence and possible addictive personalities of their inventors.  I am not suggesting that all inventors have addictive personalities.  But, consider that we can turn negatives into positives!  Sometimes, we need both to make something work better.  But, most importantly, let's remember to find a close group of friends and strong bonds with others so that our lives will become meaningful.

Thanks everyone for keeping up with Kat for this episode of KaTsZoNe and for being such great supporters of mine through all of life's ups and downs through past years till now.

I will be back with another episode in December!  I look forward to hearing and perhaps meeting with many of my friends and family during the holiday season!

Peace and blessings.


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