Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
There is an eclectic gift shop in Charlotte (in the cool part of town where we do not live) that always makes me happy. It is totally worth the schlepp and I never leave there disappointed. I love browsing the overstuffed shelves and aisles and finding the perfect gifts… and sometimes those great finds are for Yours Truly. I found myself with an unexpectedly free day yesterday so I decided to head over to Green With Envy, the aptly named store, to make some headway on my holiday shopping. I walked in full of giddy excitement, the money I had set aside for gifts burning a hole in my pocket.
At the entrance, where the baskets the store hopes you will fill with all of the wonderful merchandise on display are located, was a sign telling me that “Shopping is better than a psychiatrist.” I almost turned around and walked out.
These signs – and this store is sadly not alone in this attempt at cutesy pro-shopping humor – really offend me. One of my favorite stores, City Art Works, used to have a sign out front that said something like, “Your husband called. He said buy whatever you want.” What?! Seriously!? I wasn’t aware I needed his permission. But this sign – and I have seen several variations of it, basically equating something like eating chocolate, drinking wine or shopping to psychiatry – gets my Mama Bear claws out. With a child struggling with mental health issues and doing her best to get the help she needs to work her way through them, minimizing the very real need people have for psychiatry does such a disservice to those who are suffering.
I know the retort is that I should lighten up. Shopping and other pleasurable activities can help lift bad moods and turn a frown upside down. But then say that. Don’t imply that seeing a psychiatrist – a very real need millions of people have – is akin to shopping. It is not right and it is not fair to people who would love to have the solution be that simple.
Instead of walking out of the store, I told the shopkeeper how I felt. She promised to convey my sentiments to the owner. I am hopeful that the next time I head over there – my holiday shopping is not yet complete! – the sign will be gone. Great store with great stuff – some of which will make the folks on my list very happy next month – but no additional enticement to shop needed. Let your cool merchandise speak for itself.