Christmas is over and if you live in NZ, it seems everything is on sale. Half price off this and a “whopping” 20% of that, and in every shop, miserable looking sales assistants who’d rather be on holiday, manage to tear themselves away from their phones just long enough to check whether you’re a sucker or not.

I hate shopping if it’s for anything other than food. I know food isn’t going to be the wrong colour or the wrong size and I always be able to use it, but the anything else is a ‘test-the-day-and-see-if-I-can-handle-it’ thing. My husband loves shopping. He truly believes it’s the Zen’ist thing you can do. I’ve known him to spend an entire morning comparing the same products in different shops, in totally different locations – and still not buy anything. I can’t understand it. I need a potato masher. I work out the closest acceptable potato masher shop and I go there, walk in the door, scan for the utensils, choose my masher, purchase it and leave. I do not, ever, think about going to another shop that sells potato mashers.

But I am not entirely without shopping skills. I have family in Bangkok and it is the only place I shop in any way that might be referred to as recreational. Unlike 90% of tourists, I walk through hawkers markets as though I’m blind. I can’t see the point of putting up with all the drama over a belt I know is going to fall to bits a week down the track, but over the years I have discovered the malls that suit me. When I go to these malls I look at stuff and end up buying the same things I always buy. Scarves (I cannever have too many of those), pens, pens, pens, pens, pens and kids school books that come pre-packaged in plastic. And more pens. And then I go to Kinokuniya and buy wonderful books and sometimes I buy shoes. And I always have yummy things for lunch because… it’s Bangkok and it’s food! I always feel good coming back from Emporium because it means I have held up my end just a little, for everyone who loves shopping. I still can’t understand why it’s so easy to choose a book and so difficult to find the right handbag, but sometimes we have to go with the mysteries of life.

I do have a lot of pens.

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