There are many things I love in this world: My teenage daughter Sofie’s* singing talent, my pet dog Boo Boo*, my husband Jason’s* corny humour. And shopping. Yes, as superficial as it may sound, I am a shopperholic. It is my hobby, my obsession, and my one flaw that made me commit “crimes” against my family.

Nothing relaxes me more than flipping through the departmental racks, trying and then purchasing clothes. Even if I didn’t need anything, I was just as happy visiting newly-opened boutiques to window-shop. And as for shopping online – my email is filled with web store e-flyers, most of my phone apps are e-commerce related, and I have spent hours searching the Internet for everything from the season’s must-have sneakers to past-season luxury bags.

My family has learnt to live with it – we were not “crazy, rich Asians”, but I have found ways to upkeep my “personal economic and commercial interest” (as I have justified it to everyone) all these years.
I “convinced” Sofie to get tops and dresses that I would fit into (luckily I am petite and she is big-boned) so that I, too, could wear the latest styles, and I would only hit a store when there’s a sale.

I have also taken to scrolling through resell platforms to find the best bargains. It was through these sites, that I begun acting against my family.

It all started with this year’s spring cleaning. As I was clearing out the family wardrobe, I found bags of my unworn impulse buys. As they were all in good condition, I decided to offload them on
a resell app.

Within two months, I managed to clear half of them – the problem was, I spent just as much money as I received because I was buying other people’s stuff on the app! What’s more, it fueled more shopping sprees, but I felt happy as I thought I was just using extra disposable income.

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I begun trying other platforms, and spent hours uploading photos of my “goods”, looking through other people’s wares, and selling and buying items as though I was running a business. But soon, I began running out of my “stock” of old and unworn clothes. I had to sell other things in order to shop!

That was when I started picking through Jason’s* vintage toy collection and Sofie’s wardrobe. Jason had amassed a huge collection of action figures, so I thought he wouldn’t notice. I selected some with damaged packaging, or those that I found ugly. For Sofie, she had a lot of fast fashion buys, and I just chose those I thought she had forgotten about or had no use for.

At first they didn’t notice, or thought nothing much of it when they couldn’t find their things. And when they did ask about a missing item, I lied by telling them I did not see it or that they must have misplaced it. On some occasions, I even blamed our pet dog for chewing up the toys or clothes so I threw them away – Boo Boo got extra treats from me for the times he became the scapegoat.

Three months ago, karmic justice caught up with me. One Sunday, I came home from a shopping trip to see Jason all sweaty and frowning. When he saw me, he started apologising profusely for losing my grandma’s jade ring that she had given me before she passed on. I was furious, shouting and blaming him for not keeping it safe.

“I kept the ring in the hidden compartment of a vintage miniature red wooden toy chest box because I thought no one would steal the box if the house was broke into,” he explained, his voice quivering with guilt.

I became silent, and tears started streaming down my cheeks; I had let go of that same wooden toy chest box two weeks ago, on a resell platform for just $10. At that moment, I felt like I had sold away a piece of my soul just to feed my cheap retail thrills.

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I never got my ring back – for some reason, the buyer of the box did not respond to my pleas. I never spoke of the “lost” heirloom since the incident… I have deactivated my reselling accounts, spend much less time shopping, and more time finding cheaper thrills, such as walking in parks, watching movies and just preparing more homecooked meals – quality family time that doesn’t come at a price, but is invaluable and a treasure.

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