10 dumb things I do in shops


I am to retail what Fraulein Maria from the Sound of Music was to the abbey. A tearaway. A renegade. A sinner.

When I go shopping, I do things that I know I ought not. Things that are bad for me.

And I suspect you do too.

So to help myself and possibly you, I have compiled this list of commandments I will try to follow next time I get my shopping on. Ready? Let’s do this.

1. Thou Shalt Not Buy In Situ

So I’m in a boho, incense-burning, chime-playing shop and that ochre coloured, floor length, collar to cuff kaftan looks right at home. That’s because it’s in situ – surrounded by props and other clothes that make it look….normal. Desirable. However, I do not live in Machu Picchu. One must always ask one’s self – will this poncho/wetsuit/sombrero/skort/onesie work in my real life?

2. Do Not Covet The Shop Assistant’s Physique

Wow, those black vinyl leggings look fantastic on that 18-year-old shop assistant. If I buy those pants I will look just like her. Wrong. I will look like a 37-year-old woman using a recycled tarpaulin to vacuum seal her thighs.

3. What Happens On Tour Stays On Tour

We’ll always have Paris, that is of course if we buy this sequin encrusted, four foot Eiffel tower. It’ll look a treat in between our porcelain double decker bus and that Viking stein. Together they can collect dust and eventually be boxed up and labelled “miscellaneous stuff” when we move.

4. There Is Only One Liz Hurley

A reading from the Book of Revelations. White jeans will not turn me into Liz Hurley. White jeans will make me a red-wine-stained, dirty-hemmed walking grot collector who never dated Hugh Grant.

5. Bed, Bath And Beyond

Gluttony is a sin. The amount of bed linen and bath towels in a house should be commensurate with the number of people living in said house. Regrettably I stray when tempted with an impressive thread count. I become a b and b owner who simply must have the best for her guests. Quicker than you can say I can’t close the linen cupboard I’m MasterCard-ing my way to hospital corners and guest soaps.


6. Show Me The Monet

Thou shalt not buy cheap, knock off prints. If I purchase one more Van Gogh I vow to cut off my own ear.

7. Thou Shalt Not Buy Another Japanese Tea Set

When one reaches six Japanese tea sets, one is at capacity. Sadly, despite having my full quotient, I can frequently be found lusting after a handcrafted clay cup that snuggles into my hand like a bird in its nest. I feel somewhat bereft as I sit in my bonsai garden, whittling bamboo and sipping green tea, wondering what might have been.

8. Never Buy A Gift And Keep It For One’s Self

It is in giving that we receive. Alas, temptation is everywhere. Kate’s birthday may be in October but she’d love this cute tourmaline pendant. I’ll just try it on because our necks are the same length. Actually it kind of suits my colouring and it is only July. Happy birthday to me.

9. Racewear Comes But Once A Year

I am not Kate Waterhouse. I am not Emma Freedman. I do not go to the track every weekend. Melbourne Cup is once a year and my fascinator is for life. Or is it? When the fillies take that last bend I want to know I’m on trend. Not to mention I’m very pale (some would say anemic-looking). Yes, a wider brim would be sun smart and endlessly fascinating.

10. Thou Shalt Not Buy What Thou Does Not Need

Remember Sinead O’Connor’s album in the early nineties, “I do not want what I haven’t got”? Aah Sinead, nothing compares to you. Come to think of it, I don’t have that track. Maybe I could jump on iTunes and see if I can buy some of Sinead’s back catalogue. Alternatively, I’ll pop down to my local music shop. While I’m there I might duck next door to Witchery. I think I’ll try on that orange top I saw last week…..

Please forgive me for I am about to sin.


tonia zemekTonia Zemek has worked as a tv producer on everything from MasterChef to Big Brother. She’s gradually making the move from broadcast to print. Follow her journey on twitter here.




Are there any rules you try to abide by when shopping? What’s your black hole?

00:00 / ???