Back to home
Words, Year of no Shopping

Update: 4 Weeks of No Shopping. Or: I’m a self-indulgent, privileged asshole

First, this exercise is not aptly named. It should be something like “A Year of Not Buying Anything I Don’t Need” or “A Year of Not Buying Any Bullshit” (though, that has other connotations that would also make a great exercise and I’m going to do that, too. Totally doing that. Bullshit purveyors: Step off). Because I’m still technically “shopping” as in groceries and booze and whatnot because I’m allowed to buy those things and I have to technically “shop” for them.

Second, I have not purchased anything other than food or booze since the start of the year. And this month is nearly over and I’m all “Holy shit I have so much money right now.”

Third, and most importantly, truly: This is the most ridiculous, bloviated shit ever. The most annoyingly privileged bullshit ever. It really is. (You already knew that. I’m aware.)


For example: I ran out of the face wipes I like to have on hand when I don’t feel like actually washing my face.

I am too lazy to wash my face with soap and water. This is true. I always end up getting my shirt all wet and there’s the whole reaching for the towel thing and yeah. I ran out of face wipes that I buy because I’m too lazy to wash my face on the days when I’m too lazy to take a shower, which most of the time, is most of the days.

Here’s the thing: I spent a few minutes standing in the bathroom actually (I’m fucking serious, here) PONDERING WHETHER OR NOT THE FUCKING FACE WIPES ARE A NECESSARY PURCHASE.

(They are not).

Other things I have not run out of and won’t for at least 4-6 weeks: toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, dishwasher pods, laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, there is not enough room on the internet for me to list all of the things I will not run out of so I will stop talking about this now.

When I headed to the laptop to write this up, my original thought was that I would talk about how I have more money at this point in the month than I usually do, and that usually when that happens, I’d be coming up with things to spend it on. Shoes! Camera equipment! Cute outfits! RANDOM GARBAGE I WILL WONDER ONE DAY HOW MUCH TO CHARGE FOR AT A GARAGE SALE AND THEN I’LL SAY JUST TAKE IT, GO AHEAD, IT’S FINE.

But then I stopped, mid-staircase, when my speeding, Monday-Mimosa-fueled thoughts arrived at the fact that this whole exercise is absurdly self-indulgent. It is, at best, equally, if not more, self-indulgent than my previous “you want it, just buy it” way of life was.

(I guess the fact that it’s not noon and I’m buzzed on mimosas on a Monday kinda says it all).

I suppose I’m not telling you all anything you hadn’t all already figured out and y’all are rolling your eyes and that’s cool. We all have our own journeys.

*insert eyeroll emoji* I already figured this out I just didn’t want to think about it. Not yet.

THIS is not a challenge to see if I can go a year without buying anything I don’t need. Because that is not a challenge. I mean, I thought it would be hard. I thought it would be a difficult thing to stop myself from ordering that new Fuji 80mm Macro lens. I really did. It costs $1,200. I could have it tomorrow thanks to Amazon. It is, oddly, not hard to not order that. I thought I would have to fight myself. That “struggle” went away. I’ll figure out why later. (Do you like your therapist? Can I get her number?)

The challenge?

The challenge is not to “survive” on what I already have. That’s not survival. That’s not even “getting by.” Or “making do.”

The challenge is to do fucking better with what I have. The challenge is to share it more widely. The challenge is to make better art. The challenge is to share that art. The challenge is to help others make better art. And to share it. The challenge is to help others, period.

The challenge is to do better. The challenge is to be better. The challenge is to improve myself while helping as many people as I can do the same.

I’m gonna give myself a little break here and say that I already try to do that. But I know I can do it in a more productive and effective way.

I know I can be better, and I know I can do better for others.

I posted on Facebook earlier today about an older man I witnessed at Walgreen’s when I went in to pick up a prescription. He was seated at the photo-printing kiosk and stabbing at the screen and saying “You’re stupid, you know that? Stupid.”

And I couldn’t tell if he was talking to the kiosk or if he was talking to himself.

Same, man. Same.



By Viki Gonia, January 29, 2018
  • 3
  • Nancy V
    January 29, 2018

    It’s totally okay to be self indulgent. I mean, people write entire books that are pages and pages of self-indulgent “I didn’t buy anything this year’ or “I tried to grow all my own food” or “I tried to figure out how people could POSSIBLY be happy even if they live in countries without WiFi or widely available cappucino” or “I lived without eating meat for a year!” or “I didn’t watch Netflix for a month”. It’s very first world but that’s absolutely okay. I plan to give up alcohol during February AND do yoga every frickin’ day. Can you think of anything more self indulgent? Except maybe making my own kombucha to drink after yoga? (BTDT – the big jar with the floaty mother-fungus or whatever it’s called was kind of gross, and I didn’t actually like the kombucha. But it wasn’t mine, it was my SO’s. So I let it go and he got tired of dealing with it and now we have more counter space.)

    I get updates from you because you were a friend of my cousin (Frank Crist), who died several years ago. He is still missed. But I like getting your updates, so keep writing 🙂

    • Viki Gonia
      February 6, 2018

      Oh, Nancy, THANK YOU. I’m sorry I didn’t see this comment sooner. I miss Frank still, all the time. And I know it’s okay to be self-indulgent, but at the same time, I feel a responsibility to make that self-indulgence mean something more. I hope you’re well.

  • Nancy V
    January 29, 2018

    Please, please get rid of that gigantic smileyface. Sorry about that.

Leave a Reply to Viki Gonia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I'm Viki!
I'm a writer, photographer, traveler, and I love food. Thanks for visiting!
Follow me!
Sign up for my infrequent newsletter!

Follow me on Instagram!