Shopping while intoxicated (SWI), otherwise known as shopping under the influence (SUI), feels fabulous, but you will waste money and look stupid.
Of all the activities I enjoyed while fucked up, shopping was one of my favorites. Flicking a bic to blaze before entering TJ Maxx heightened the sensation of plush cotton beneath my fingertips. Downing a dose of GHB took the dullness away from determining how many dingy mass-produced knick-knacks I could fit in my basket before my body got too hot, the pleasure too intense, and I was forced to drop my basket beneath a rack of women’s blouses, promising myself I would return to make a purchase (I never did).
In Lowes, my inebriated antics earned me the reputation of suspicious shoplifter by virtue of lingering abnormally in aisles, too distracted by brand colors, packaging, and price tags to be aware of my surroundings. Store associates would asked, “Um, sir, do you need any help?” usually right before a hard nod. Help? No, I enjoy stumbling into endcaps. What I need, I would think as I half-smiled, half-drooled in their general direction, is a bump of coke to prevent me from passing out. It didn’t help that I occasionally stole screws.
One day, motivated to build a stand for my bong, I took four massive rips of this piff oil I bought the day before, slurped up a dose of GHB, and went to Lowes. I was sweating before I parked. Inside, my stream of consciousness became broken at best. One moment I was in lumber…hardware…the next…mo–fencing? Why am I in fencing?
“Um, sir, do you need any help?”
“Eim gud,” I slurred.
“Okay, just let us, uh, know if you need, um, anything?”
“Mmk.” Why am I in fencing? Oh, I thought, I guess my backyard does need a new fence. Although I’m only renting the place from some environmentalist slumlord. Then, movement in darkness, as if I were feeling around for my bed after visiting the restroom at three o’clock in the morning. A loud beeping sound echoed somewhere to my right, pulling my mind up from the daze like a rock from a pool of mud. I managed to stretch one eyelid open as a forklift with a full load hit the breaks.
“Sir, you can’t be back here! This area is for employees only.”
“Mmk.” By then, I knew I was fucked up. As much as I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to be productive, I decided that it was in my best interest to take a nap before building my bong stand. I stumbled toward the…check…outta my wayward…barnyard donkeys and barbeque–
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to step outside.”
“Sir, step outside right now.” Before I fully understood what was happening, I was strapped to the stretcher of an ambulance with paramedics taking my vitals. I walked away with hospital bill totalling $4,326. Plus, my car had been towed. What a waste of a shopping trip. They had the wood I needed on sale, too.
Shopping while intoxicated is a great way to ensure that all of your paycheck goes to supporting some international corporation. Instead of saving for something you need, like rehab, you buy more of the same. If you have a shopping problem from the get-go, forget it — your wallet doesn’t stand a chance. At the height of my addiction, I had more rubber bands than Staples. Every new color fascinated me. American culture today is saturated in consumerism as it is, and if your high, any inhibition that may have prevented you from buying something dumb diminishes. My shoe rack cracked from the amount of Adidas hightops I had accumulated while clubbing.
If you’re a dealer, the temptation to buy whatever you want when you want it is hard to resist. Fast money burns quick. On the weeks when I nailed it at the clubs, I bought my boyfriend and I new phones and new laptops. At the height of my game, I could walk out of any nightclub in Boston or Providence with a minimum of $1,000. Instead of valuing the cash in my hand, I became lazy. I ordered breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Foodler. I burned through my profits faster than I could reup.
In CVS, 10 minutes before closing time, a friend and I stumbled in famished. He drank one too many doses of GHB about half an hour before. The door to the drink cooler fogged up as I opened it in search of Gatorade. Smirking, I drew a penis on the moist glass and then, without warning, heard a loud meow. I looked up. The cooler door shut itself with a smack.
It was so close to closing time that the music had been turned off.
I realized that the CVS was vacant except for us and the two impatient cashiers preparing to close the registers.
The younger of the two kept eyeing me, her eyebrows furrowed in annoyance. Suddenly, I saw a baseball cap launch over the candy aisle. The Boston Redsox emblem appeared brighter than usual when it landed a few feet in front of me.
Peaking around the corner of the candy aisle, I saw my buddy, eyes shut, his hair sticking to the sweat on his forehead, pawing chocolate bars off the shelf. I grabbed his hat, dragged him pass the two glaring girls gossiping about us at checkout, and tried not to piss myself laughing.