Last night I was scrolling through Instagram to unwind, as one does — the more blue light, the better! — and paused as I thumbed past one of those posts that only high-end retailers share, where you can click on the floral embroidered denim jacket in the photo and see that it costs $168 and then click on the “Shop Now” button and then add the jacket to your cart and then slam your phone to the ground while yelling “NO!” to no one in particular in an attempt to regain control of your life because for one brief moment you were possessed by the embroidered denim demons. Just because the product copy uses words like “folkloric” and “vibrant” and “delicate beading” doesn’t mean you have to BUY it, you growl at yourself.
This is not the first such occurrence in the past week. My browser history is a long list of nothing but retail URLs, peppered with a few visits to my bank’s website to survey the ongoing wreckage. And it’s all because of the solar eclipse.
Eclipse spending: it’s a real phenomenon!
There is hard science to back me up on this. What, you want to see receipts? Fine! Here we go:
I visited AstrologyKing.com, a reputable source of scientifically sound information. See for yourself:
“The solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, is at 29° Leo. The solar eclipse August 2017 astrology points to bold, confident changes leading to long term success. Determined and sustained effort will bring the growth and happiness you desire.”
I traced the start of my solar spending better back to Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale in July, so I’ve certainly been making a determined and sustained effort in the realm of retail since then. I can also point to the bold, confident changes headed to my wardrobe as soon as my LOFT order with a smorgasbord of summer-to-fall pieces arrives. Nothing brings the happiness I desire like a 40% off promo code that can also be applied to clearance items.
The ironclad evidence from AstrologyKing continues:
“New moon solar eclipse August 2017 at 28°52′ Leo Sign falls very near to the brightest star of Leo Constellation. The Heart of the Lion is one of the most important and most powerful stars in astrology. It brings success but danger of loss. The other main influence on solar eclipse new moon August 2017 is a helpful trine aspect to Uranus, the planet of change and excitement.”
They officially lost me at the “trine aspect to Uranus,” but everyone knows that buying shit on the Internet is the fastest route to change and excitement.
Eclipse spending: 1. Nonbelievers: 0.
“Whatever,” you roll your eyes. “You tweet incessantly about your retail habits and the swimsuits you want to buy even though you live in Wisconsin. This sounds like a personal problem, but nice attempt to blame it on the nation’s first solar eclipse since 1979. Show some respect for NASA and destroy all your credit cards.”
Touché. I do tweet a lot about things I buy and things I want to buy. Tasteless? Perhaps. But as a wise influencer or blogger probably once said, “fuck the haters.” I know the difference between my baseline retail habit (manageable, I can quit anytime) and my eclipse-related spending (catastrophic).
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My friend Sarah sends out an excellent TinyLetter every Friday morning (subscribe now! #spon) with smart and pithy recaps of the week in pop culture and current events and politics and, oh, ECLIPSE SPENDING. Mere hours after my run-in with the most glorious denim jacket on all of Instagram, Sarah wrote in her newsletter:
I followed up on Sarah’s newsletter with a series of questions via text, because I am a journalist and always hungry for facts (and avocado toast, and reversible pendant necklaces spotted in LOFT’s clearance section). I told Sarah about my Instagram denim jacket that got away, and her response will amaze you:
We almost bought twin jackets, and we don’t even live within 1,000 miles of each other or regularly discuss our outerwear preferences! The universe by way of solar eclipse is telling us something, and we would all be wise to obey. Our debts be damned.
Sarah texted me after our initial conversation to let me know her friend Allison is also a member of the Eclipse Spending Sisterhood, which makes three of us, and three makes a trend. As a serious journalist with a serious B.A. in journalism, I should know.
If you are still a naysayer in the face of the irrefutable evidence presented by me, an eclipse spending truther, allow me to empathize with your skepticism.
I don’t usually believe in New-Agey woo-woo like crystals or essential oils or those Himalayan salt lamps (which admittedly look cool and I almost bought one, but I don’t believe that a lamp sold at TJ Maxx can “neutralize electromagnetic radiation” — plus I’m not 100% clear on what that means).
But, my currently debilitating lack of impulse control can only be explained by North America’s biggest solar event in a lifetime and what NASA has referred to as a “celestial coincidence,” when the sun and the moon appear to be the same size from Earth. Otherworldly interference is the only possible explanation for the moment on Tuesday, August 15 when I decided suddenly — without warning or any prior consideration — to become the proud new owner of a pair of Frye boots. (They were 50% off. They’re an investment piece! It’s fine!!!)
I do hope that come August 22, the eclipse will loosen its stranglehold on my spending habits. Frankly, my bank account can’t take much more of it. And neither can my waning energy to rationalize all these rash purchases. But for now, I’m just going to lean into it, being careful only to peruse the websites of retailers with forgiving return policies.
If you need me on Monday, I’ll be live streaming the eclipse on one tab with a second screen set up just for Nordstrom.
You never know when an embroidered denim jacket might go on sale.