The six emotional stages of a secret shopping spree.

Coles Credit Cards
Thanks to our brand partner, Coles Credit Cards

The worst thing about present shopping is the terrible guilt that comes from returning home with an armful of lovely new things — for yourself.

It’s also the best thing.

You head out the door, full of good intentions and maybe even armed with a list, only to return home with a new jumpsuit, a festive red lipstick, and a completely unnecessary fedora. For yourself.

How did this happen?

Allow us to enlighten you. Here are the six emotional stages of a secret shopping spree.

1. Excited with a hint of smugness.

“I am going to get everything I need today and I’ll never have to go present shopping again! HUZZAH for today!” you think, breezing into the shopping centre to embark on your present-finding mission. Your hair is sleek, your shoulders are straight and your underarms are dry.

2. Temptation with a side of frustration.

Several stores down and you still haven’t found any of the gifts you’re after. Better reward yourself with a little window-shopping to regroup.

“Why does everyone have to be so difficult to buy for?” you think. “I, on the other hand, am so easy! I like that, and that, and those, and THIS! Does this come in blue?”

shopping habits
Oops… Image via iStock.

3. Overwhelmed and baffled… yet acquisitive.

Perspiration is beading on your forehead. There are just so many shops.

“Why is the music so loud?” you think. “Who on EARTH can concentrate with all of that noise? Why have three people asked me if I need help? Who am I? Oooooooh cute top!”

You look down to discover your arms heavy with clothing you’ve feverishly grabbed from surrounding displays. A helpful sales assistant asks if he can put them in a fitting room for you. Why yes, yes, he can.

4. Thrilled followed swiftly by regretful.

It’s one of those rare occasions when everything you try on looks amazing. What to do?

Suddenly you’re handing over your credit card. Your heart is thumping with the thrill of the hunt and sweat coats your palms.

“I’ve bought too much,” you think. “And it’s all for me! I haven’t bought a single thing from my list. I appear to have spent my whole budget. Yet nothing will compel me to retract my credit card. It’s been swiped. It’s happening. It’s happened. Oh god. What have I done? What was I thinking, believing I could pull off those short shorts?”


It’s time to beat a hasty retreat, even though the siren song of loud dance music is calling to you from Sportsgirl.

shopping habits
“Suddenly you’re handing over your credit card. Your heart is thumping with the thrill of the hunt and sweat coats your palms.” Image via iStock.

5. Denial. Guilt. Shame.

You try to enter the house quietly with your bags rustling behind your back then quickly deposit them somewhere your partner/flatmate/mum won’t find them. It’s not behaviour befitting a grown woman.

When asked about your day’s achievements, you hedge, then experience a sudden desperate urge to have a shower. At 3pm. In fact, you enter a stage of denial so convincing that you begin to believe your own lies and leave your new stuff in its bags for days.


6. Fabulousness.

The initial guilt passes and you approach the hidden shopping bags with trepidation. Open the bags. SCORE. This stuff is amazing! I was made for short shorts.

Some might say “fabulous” isn’t an emotion. I beg to differ. When you’re feeling fabulous, it kind of looks like this:

shopping habits
Image via Giphy.

Now, about that present shopping…

What have you bought on a secret shopping spree?