Recently I wanted to buy a pretty mug to use at work. It would make me happy each time I use it, and my hope is that 5-7 fewer paper cups per week will in its own humble way help preserve our planet. It would make me feel good from the outside in. So I strolled into Anthropologie, my body fully used to swerving past the new arrivals, up the stairs and right to Sale. There they were on the back wall – brightly colored mugs with bold, whimsical, swirly patterns. Full of beauty and joy, they would no doubt be a defiant presence of higher things than what you find going on inside an office cubicle.
While the price tag is attractive, not so much those swirly patterns, once I took a closer look. “They’re really not bad,” my mind tells me. But not bad wasn’t making me happy.
My husband had trained me to be a bargain-shopper soon after we met. It took a couple of years but I eventually appreciated his method, because the red tags of Sale and Clearance reduce my choices and browsing time from infinity to five to twenty minutes, which made shopping possible and quick. So I felt like such a rule-breaker when I decided to take a look at the full-priced mugs too. Because what if – just what if full-priced is where I’ll find The One? What if $4.99 is not a bargain but a habit of settling for less? What if the true cost of $4.99 is for me to miss out on finding The One?
There are full-priced mugs that are not as cute as the sale mugs but one really caught me eye. It’s creamy white on the outside, bright red on the inside with big white polka dots. Its body is curved to snuggle into your palms. Someone had taken a thin brush dipped in black and traced the edges and curves. It’s simple and elegant on the outside, wild on the inside and it wants you to hold it. What’s more, it has a message. Framed by swirly black lines are the hand-written words: Something Good.
Something Good made me pay $12.99 for a mug. I can’t remember the last time I (or my husband) bought something for fun at full-price. Something Good made me do it and I felt free.