For some reason I tend to view money spent at airports differently to the dosh I hand over on a more normal, spending spree. I still see it as a way of “using up” spare cash, taking clever advantage of the special offers that shine and shimmer at me from sparkly glass cases. As I did years ago when duty free really offered you a bargain.
Logically of course I know that nowadays the whole duty-free lark is far less meaningful than it used to be. The prices aren’t all that great unless you’re travelling long distance, and treating myself to a new foundation/lipstick/perfume or expensive face cream is – at the end of the day – pure (happy) self indulgence and nothing more.
But the thing is… logic doesn’t really come into it! As soon as my feet have carried me past the passport check, a sense of euphoria enters my body and bubbles its way down to my toes. Like a well programmed robot I quicken my step and speedily find my way into the first, brightly lit shop, my boarding pass at the ready. Just for a quick peek you understand.
Yeah right. Quick or not, I know very well that there’ll be no plane boarding for me until I’m armed with a pretty, plastic bag carrying at least one, but more likely three, joyous little items. Including – if it’s a trip to Dublin – a good perfume for my sister. Just one of the little things we do for each other.
You see, I’m a bit of a shopaholic. Maybe even more than a bit. When that film “Confessions of a Shopaholic” came out I sat entranced, loving, appreciating and recognising the joys, twinges of guilt and total addiction that every woman/girl (who enjoys shopping) is familiar with. The satisfaction that comes when you’ve made your final choice and head towards the cash register, your purchase-to-be clutched firmly in one sweaty little hand. The rush of blood that warms you later as carefully you unveil your new item to the oohs and aaahs of those around you (or even just your own – equally good!).
I’m not really sure why airport shopping feels that bit different, or loosens the rules a little more for me. It just does. Perhaps it’s the time pressure – mustn’t miss that flight! Or the perfume-scented, brightly lit atmosphere which this happy little “in-between world” literally oozes. I’m also fairly sure that echoes of the old, pre-Euro need to “use up these left-over liras” still live inside my head because I’ve fed and watered them so well.
Oh well. I will probably always feel less guilty spending money there than anywhere else. So I’m sticking with that for now and off to compile a nice list for my next gallop through Schiphol. We’ll call it… good preparation!