Years of experience have allowed me to make every mistake imaginable so you don't have to, and have shown me how to successfully navigate the shopfront face-to-face consumer experience to create a winning outcome every time! Guaranteed!
The best part is that all of this is completely free! "Why? WTF?" I hear you ask? Well, maybe it's because I love youse all, or maybe because I'm incredibly selfish! Selfish? Yes, you heard it right - you see, I go to the shops too, and there's nothing I enjoy more, nothing more guaranteed to make my experience even winninger than normal, than to see lots of people having a great time. Everyone wins! Just continue reading to discover this incredible system for yourself!
But wait? How do I know this will work for me? The only way is to try it and see for yourself. I can say that clinical results have shown this system to be effective in every type of goods-for-money exchange place ever, from supermarkets to shopping malls, hardware chains, car sales yards, and for all I know it'll even work at a 'house of ill-repute'. There's nothing to lose!
OK, so BS salespeak hyperbole aside, I have in my time discovered a couple of key things to help us not only survive the ills of the rampant consumerist assault found in our shopping establishments, but indeed to thrive therein, with one's sense of self intact, one's wallet only appropriately lightened - if at all - and the goods-seeking experience we require completely fulfilled. True story. Even 'failures' can be a success.
Let's get started then. Broadly speaking, there are just two main ways of internal state you need to master; and then with practice, you may be able to combine them and assume the rank of elite storemaster, and become an unstoppable force invulnerable to the perils of marketing manipulation and parking lot frustration. In truth, everyone can get there, but as the dedication required to achieve this heightened state is incredibly onerous for some individuals and may not come easily for you, be assured - either of the two basic states can provide perfect experiential shopping fulfillment if chosen wisely and employed well. It's that simple.
State 1: The Hunter.
Simply put, this is the best way to go when you know exactly what you want to get, and/or exactly what you want the outcome to be. It is an ancient and instinctive part of all of us, and the reason we have such unusual dentition and digestive tracts. We are successful hunters by nature, or we wouldn't have made it this far.
Understanding the habits of they prey is relatively easy for most things. Likely location, price and specifcation variations from place to place all contribute to your understanding of product, and you can do a lot of this at home; in fact I recommend it wherever possible. What you really need to navigate is the terrain. Importantly, note that the prey is not the enemy. The prey here wants you to find it. The problem often is separating what you really want from the at-times-seemingly-endless parade of targets all wanting you to shoot them with your hard-earneds. Or worse, with your credit card.
The stalking ground, you understand, is only physical in one small and almost irrelevant sense. You need to know where to go to find, say, a new toaster. The really important ground, the truly perilous place for the seeker, is your own mind. Master a couple of simple memory and self-knowledge skills and you're home free.
First Step: Always remember your objectives, and keep them in the front of your mind at all times. If there are more than three things, write a list and do not leave the list at home on the kitchen table. It is useless to you there unless you are some sort of memory freak. Take the list with you and refer to it often. But why is this so completely vital?
Digression: The Gruen Transfer.
To quote the Australian ABC TV show of the same name, the Gruen Transfer is:
"Named for Victor Gruen, who designed the very first shopping mall. The term describes that split second when the mall's intentionally confusing layout makes our eyes glaze and our jaws slacken... the moment when we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers."
This presents us with a chilling thought if we follow our technique analogy here....we are either hunting, or the hunted. In your mind, go back to the mall, the last time you were there. Remember walking along the concourse. Now stand still (sit if you can't) for a moment in your memory and look around at the faces you see passing by. The disorientation apparent behind the surface conviction that everyone is in perfect control of their own decisions. Is being here making these people happy? Before you come back, feel the pressure on the soles of your feet as you stand there (or your bum if you're sitting), aware of your groundedness and your inner sense of strength, purpose, and kindness. Catch someone's eye, and smile a warm and friendly smile at them. See them 'come to' for that moment. Share your simple human pleasure at being alive. Now come back.
Being consciously in charge of your own mind is key, I can't stress it enough.
A simple thought about happiness and shopping as The Hunter:
You are not here for happiness. You are here for fulfilment, and these are two different things. Happiness so often has strings attached in our creepy internal worlds, and usually requires some external thing to happen 'to' us. Fulfilment can be a flexible thing. You may find and own the thing you seek, but regardless of how the Hunt turns out, by assiduously being the Hunter, your experience will fulfil the need you truly have on that day. I find this does tend to move us towards contentment, happiness's grown-up cousin.
Second Step: Maintain awareness of your mental wave state. Basically, make sure you stay actually here, and are acting on your own volition. Sounds like one of those things easier said than done, but it isn't. It's just as easily done as said. All you have to do until you get the hang of it is put it on your list. Near, but not quite at, the top. I used to use something like "Have My Experience" or "Be Here Now". At any point you notice you have slipped 'out', then immediately suspend the hunt and on no account shoot anything until you are back in yourself properly.
If you are doubting whether you are here or not, you're not. Headf**k all you like about definitions and degrees and techniques but the bottom line is you know exactly what I'm talking about and what it feels like to be in this zone. It's good, isn't it?
Third Step: Check twice before you shoot. Twice is enough, no more than that, OK? If you've looked twice and what you're looking at fits the bill, ticks most of your boxes (it's a rabbit - check, it is big enough - check, I can hit it from here [ie can afford it] - check) then release the arrow. So if you're still worried about whether that's the right shade of grey or whether a hare might be a better choice now that you think about it then you didn't get the first bit right anyway and you are not here to fulfil a hunt, you are here to learn about how to be cool with making decisions. Which is fulfilling anyway. You may find another rabbit elsewhere, it may even be a 'better' rabbit but you will spend time and effort for most probably little reward. So shoot. If what you wanted was the cheapest possible rabbit known to mankind, the same applies. If it seems like you're looking at it, check again quickly, just once, then shoot. You are checking so as not to accidentally bring home a cat. You check only once to subvert the mind's tendency towards paralysis through analysis.
So to summarise the hunt;
DEcide, Remember, FOcus, Check, Shoot.
Which makes the wonderfully memorable mnemonic
Or, as I say, "Der Fox!"
to be continued...
tune in next time for State 2, and how to master deeper levels of shopping awesomeness.