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  1. #1

    Default curbing addiction with samples?

    Hey,

    It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in feeling compelled to spend too much on perfume. I think those of us who have strong emotional/aesthetic responses to smell are probably activating the same brain reward circuit responsible for fueling other compulsive consumptive behavior. Nothing inherently wrong with that -- it's why we pursue wonderfulness in all forms. Sex, food, good movies, etc. If you respond very strongly to some particular delicious object of desire, you're blessed with extraordinary pleasure, but also vulnerable. You tend to find yourself compelled to do things -- in pursuit of that desire -- that the logical, thinking part of your brain would have preferred you not do. I.e., addictive behavior.

    I have a particularly strong response to smell, which I treasure -- just as people with a strong response to music treasure their ability to get the most out of Wagner. But it leaves me vulnerable to spending more than I want to. That's the distinction -- not more than I ought to, but more than I want to. Doing anything "more than I want to" is the hallmark of compulsive behavior driven by the non-thinking reward circuit of the brain.

    But this is what has worked for me: I've stopped buying full bottles, and instead order and collect samples -- either from eBay or from individual stores, like aedes.com. I know many of you do this as well, but haven't seen anyone mention whether this helps their compulsive overspending. About once a year I may buy a full bottle. But I manage to avoid buying another ten bottles or so, because I get my fill of them with the sample. In most cases the "drive to buy" disappears ince I've had a chance to try the perfume and wear it for a week or so.

    I've realized that for me, the need to own a perfume breaks down into several components:

    1. Tasting
    2. Exploring
    3. Owning

    The biggest drive is simply to try the perfume -- "tasting". I hear exciting things about something I haven't tried before -- and I NEED to smell it. Before wide availability of samples, this meant finding your way to a store and trying the scent on once. Not nearly as satisfying. At this point, living in a rural area, I ended up buying a lot of perfume simply to satisfy the first need -- to try the scent.

    After trying it and satisfying my curiosity, I still have a second important need. I tend to want to have access to the perfume and learn more about it (exploring). I feel about scents the way I used to feel about crayons when I was little. There was something magical in owning 300 different colors, even if you didn't draw any better pictures with them. Each crayon embodies the nuanced difference between, say, yellowed orange and Spanish yellow. Likewise, having a vast collection of interesting and delicious smells at my fingertips gives a pleasure in itself, even if I rarely wear most of the fragrances, and actually dislike many of them. You own a universe of scents you can tip into and explore at your whim.

    For me, these two components -- trying on the new fragrance and having access to many varieties -- explain most of my drive to buy. The third part, owning the full bottle, comes up only when I truly love a perfume and want to wear it all the time. And I've been able to satisfy these first two drives with samples at $1-2 a vial -- which makes the difference between a real spending problem and an interesting but harmless habit.

  2. #2

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    very dead on post!

    You are completely right.

    In the past few months, I've had to get my prorities in order. And buying new scents wasn't in the plan. Still, I wanted to try new stuff and "explore", so thankfully I was able to do that by swapping samples with people.

    the part regarding ownership is there, but that was the part that has waned. I still want to taste and explore, but it was the "ownership" part, that seemed a bit OCD, so I overcame that.

    The I haven't bought any new scents for a while, and I've been going back and rediscovering my older scents and appreciating them. In fact there is only ONE scent which I don't have , but need to own- Passage D'Enfer. But even then, i can wait.

    But the samples and decants are definitely the way to go. Sure you don't get the bottle and the artwork and concept etc, but that is both a pro AND a con. A con, for obvious aesthetic reasons, but a pro because you can evaluate a scent purely on its merits on your skin.

    again, nice post Norwegiangirl

  3. #3

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    DESIRELESSNESS....The Limitless Silent Satisfaction which enthuses every urgent reach.... :-*

  4. #4

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    How interesting! I think you're right, that the "ownership" instinct is separate from the rest. I guess there are two kinds of problematic spending on perfume. One is driven by the pursuit of pleasure and novelty -- classic reward-seeking behavior seen in all kinds of addictions. The other is driven by an instinct to collect and hoard -- which has more of an OCD feel to it.

    In my case, I don't think I have any more of a collecting/hoarding/nesting/owning instinct than the average person. I do think I feel more pleasure from smelling things than the average person does (I'm sure that's true of a lot of us here on the board), so that's the root of the overspending for me. Maybe buying samples would be a way out for people who are driven mainly by the novelty of a new perfume and the pleasure of the smell itself -- but it wouldn't work much at all for people who feel they have more of an OCD-like compulsive collecting problem. Or for whom a large part of the pleasure comes from looking at the beautiful bottles specifically.

    Thanks for the posts!

  5. #5
    Yvan
    Guest

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Yes, samples have definitely helped me avoid spending too much, and consequently feeling some regret for, this hobby.  In my case, I mostly buy minis.  That keeps the cost down.  I find with minis, I can "test drive" the scent longer than with a sample vial.  Of course, many times, all you need is a vial to know whether it's "you" or not.  Then if I really like a mini, or if I use it all up, I'll probably get a (bigger) bottle.  Also, I know that if all I had was big bottles, I'd never use them all up, whereas you can polish minis off more easily.  One drawback is that, sometimes, a mini will have sat on the shelf a while, but then if you end up getting a bigger bottle of it, sometimes it's even slightly better quality than a mini, which is a plus.

    The more I pursue this hobby, the more careful I am in researching a scent to really narrow the field of "probably likeability."  That's helped me avoid buying many scents that I've definitely considered, because I don't feel the need to end up with 200 bottles--not that there's anything wrong with that!  It's just my personal preference and my personal needs, or lack thereof.

    I'm actually glad I don't "agree with" many scents I sample.  Knowing that I already have enough really good ones, and rejecting many of the ones I sample, makes me thankful for the bottles I've already got and makes me hold on tighter to my wallet and avoid spending any more...for a while, anyway!

  6. #6

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvan
    I'm actually glad I don't "agree with" many scents I sample. Knowing that I already have enough really good ones, and rejecting many of the ones I sample, makes me thankful for the bottles I've already got and makes me hold on tighter to my wallet and avoid spending any more...for a while, anyway!
    Totally right. Every time I get a sample or decant and don't like it, I happily tell myself, "You just saved $30, or $70, or $100." And when I hit one I really DO like - rarely - and use up the sample, I feel fine buying the bottle.

    For me it's the exotic mystery of a new untried fragrance that beckons. (Walter Benjamin wrote about the "aura" of the commercial object. The aura is what vanishes the minute you buy it, take it home, unwrap it, and try it on. Suddenly it's just a bottle filled with smelly alcohol. Advertising works very hard to give things aura.)

    For me, the possibility that this untried fragrance might be The One gives a bottle its aura. So for me, trying something takes away a lot of the aura - and a lot of the compulsive "need" to buy.

    Not all the need. But a lot.

    One remaining trouble area for me is scents I've heard good things about, that I can buy online for $30 or less, and that I can't readily try or get samples of. It doesn't seem worth it to get a decant when I can get a bottle for not that much more. These I do sometimes buy blind, and more than half the time I'm quite happy with them. Luckily, their number is rapidly dwindling.

  7. #7

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Excellent idea. Starting now, I am only swapping for new scents or getting samples!
    Top 3: London Gentleman, Blackbeard's Delight, and Sex Panther. (It works 60% of the time, every time.)

  8. #8

    CologneJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    I'm so glad I found you all! I've always found myself buying .5oz bottles or even smaller of various fragrances, using them up, & then right away buying the big bottles. Then after only using like a tenth of the big bottle I'm sick of the fragrance! So now I still try to buy the smaller bottles (unless I can get a larger one for a TOTAL steal or have a gift card to fragrance stores) & then after finishing the bottle wait a couple weeks or so to see if I still desire the fragrance.

    Also, it's good to see that having many bottles of cologne/perfume is OK!!!! I've given away so many half-used bottles in the past just because I thought it was wasteful & that I had too many bottles (I probably had like 7 or 8 when I thought this!). Now I see that each scent I own has a time & a place & I wish I could get back some of the fragrances that I've given away!
    "Wait...is David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia

  9. #9

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Very well-said, Norwegiangirl! I'm trying to do this very thing. It's the juice that should count, after all, not owning a big bottle.

  10. #10

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    This is the odd thing for me, I HATE samples! Its only very recently that I have actually been able to use them! The thought of testing out THE MOST AMAZING scent, then it finishing is just to much to cope with! The thought of A)not being able to find it or B) not being able to afford it (big bottle that is) drives me insane!

    I'm quite aware of my OCD traits, and have been doing rather well at swapping/giving away my "back ups". One full large bottle just aint enough it would seem.

    I have always had a thing about the "large" size of most things, dunno what thats saying! LOL!

    And to top it all off, as most of you already know, I'm Nurse Specialist in addictions. Oh the irony..... [smiley=undecided.gif]

    [smiley=embarassed.gif]

  11. #11
    Allen-on-Holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Wow: I feel the same as many of you... and I can't afford to spend too much on colognes, so all I ever buy are minis. (I didn't even realize until today that you can buy sample vials!) Reading about a scent makes me want to smell it: but many times, once I smell it, I think it's over-rated. But I think the bottom line is this: the hunt! Always searching for that ultimate scent: at least, the ultimate scent for me and my chemistry. "The hunt" is enough to make me drive into the city just to smell of a scent I have never smelled before, and "owning" it comes later, if ever. And owning a mini is enough; just enough, for now. "I can always buy a bigger bottle later", I tell myself, if I decide I like it enough. But FINDING that scent is the "addiction" I guess... and sniffing doesn't cost anything. I like to try new scents at major department stores, where they will actually spray your hand if you want, and if I like it, then I go to a discount shop and buy the mini. Of course, if you visit the same stores every other day and never buy anything from them, they will realize you probably never will. But so what: who cares what a sales girl thinks about you! *
    Licorice candy for breakfast, and another dab of Black Vines by Kerosene. And a spritz of Plum Japonais for Sunday.

    I like what I like what I like what I like what I like what I like what I like what I like what I like

  12. #12

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Very interesting points of view here. I suppose I am more the novelty-driven type than the OCD/hoarder. I don't like owning a lot of things, or being owned by them (as the cliche goes). It just makes me nervous. But I get ridiculously happy over new samples. I can get two or three wearings from a sample, enough to enjoy the novelty of a new fragrance. There are so many fragrances coming out now from every direction and naturally enough I want to try them all. How can we resist all this novelty, these creative marketers? Let alone a profound response to fragrance itself. But I would rather have control than be controlled by marketing people. Why should I make them wealthy and myself poorer by impulse spending? I have an aversion to being manipulated. Anyway, I'm on an extremely tight budget, which is a blessing in a way, because my spending cap is in place and not going anywhere for a while. And I have chosen this status for now. I'm not so far gone that I would ring up credit card debt to satisfy my cravings (another ploy by credit card companies -- they keep trying to offer me more credit and I won't bite. I probably sound like a paranoid here). So this lesson has been forced on me, that I can be happy (maybe happier) with less when I prioritize and learn to savor what I have chosen. My only full bottle purchases now are "serious" ones, usually classics that I know I will not tire of. But they may be new classics, too. They're few and far between anyway. And I feel that that's healthier. For me. I am not judging anybody's else's choices here. We all have to row our own little boats in this great ocean the best way we can. :-)

  13. #13

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by CoL
    This is the odd thing for me, I HATE samples! Its only very recently that I have actually been able to use them! The thought of testing out THE MOST AMAZING scent, then it finishing is just to much to cope with! The thought of A)not being able to find it or B) not being able to afford it (big bottle that is) drives me insane!

    I have it the same way as Col, only I don`t want big bottles! I wish you could buy all fragrances in 10 or 20 ml sizes.....

    Oh, what a dream that would be...
    Everything passes. Everything changes. Just do what you think you should do.
    --Bob Dylan

  14. #14

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by sherrie11
    Very interesting points of view here. *I suppose I am more the novelty-driven type than the OCD/hoarder. *I don't like owning a lot of things, or being owned by them (as the cliche goes). *It just makes me nervous. *But I get ridiculously happy over new samples. *I can get two or three wearings from a sample, enough to enjoy the *novelty of a new fragrance. *There are so many fragrances coming out now from every direction and naturally enough I want to try them all. *How can we resist all this novelty, these creative marketers? *Let alone a profound response to fragrance itself. *But I would rather have control than be controlled by marketing people. *Why should I make them wealthy and myself poorer by impulse spending? *I have an aversion to being manipulated. *Anyway, I'm on an extremely tight budget, which is a blessing in a way, because my spending cap is in place and not going anywhere for a while. *And I have chosen this status for now. *I'm not so far gone that I would ring up credit card debt to satisfy my cravings (another ploy by credit card companies -- they keep trying to offer me more credit and I won't bite. *I probably sound like a paranoid here). *So this lesson has been forced on me, that I can be happy (maybe happier) with less when I prioritize and learn to savor what I have chosen. *My only full bottle purchases now are "serious" ones, usually classics that I know I will not tire of. *But they may be new classics, too. *They're few and far between anyway. *And I feel that that's healthier. *For me. *I am not judging anybody's else's choices here. *We all have to row our own little boats in this great ocean the best way we can. *:-)
    Sitting here... reading your posts... work day almost over... I'm starting to feel a little bit better about my own feelings about my recent fragrance purchases... ohh about 100 bottle in less then well about 16 months... FULL BOTTLES we're talking about.... So I can see that I have a problem (hehe) with this so called 'perfume addiction'... *coming at me from two sides... OH I love the scent itself... but then I need to have it... own it... I almost get obsessed with the idea... well more or less until I have it in my hands.... and then the whole thing is over! POOF gone like a cloud of smoke... So slowly I'm learning... This morning on the way to work I too was wishing that all scents would actually only come in 10ml, 20ml, 30ml bottles at most.... I've started ordering samples and found it more then satisfying that crazy craving that only full bottle purchases of eBay of hard to find scents would satisfy... I mean who am I kidding! With my wedding coming up in less then two weeks, the last thing I need is another full bottle!!! For example I was obsesses with getting a bottle of MY QUEEN... (love the name... purple color... what can I say!) So luckily I found a 10ml EDP bottle on eBay and have now worn it only once... (I've had it for at least 2/3 months)... and no I will not wear it for the special day... I find that, I suppose I've been using that as an excuse for ordering a God knows how many bottles so I would find, oh the right one!!! YOU KNOW But I still don't have the one selected for my wedding and yet... lately I've also come to realize that this was not at all about that anyway... My samples arrived and I was saved... I've realized that they are enough... I don't need to own the 'Full Bottle'... the magic for me too is just in the smelling of the new scent.... So I have all of you to *thank for making me realize this!!!!

    Believe it or not! This thread has made a huge difference to me THANK YOU! Now of course I only need to find THE ONE for the wedding (just kidding... I guess that just about anything that doesn't make him sick will make him smile

    By the way norwegiangirl I just wanted to say THANK YOU AGAIN

    "Of the five senses, the sense of smell is incontestably the one that best conveys a sense of immortality."

    Salvador Dali

  15. #15

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    As the poster above has said, it would be better if the perfume houses would provide smaller bottles of their fragrances. 30ml should be the norm, not the rarity!

    Samples are a great way of coping with the "need" for variety.

    I've been just emailing houses, asking about their fragrances, and in about 50% of cases, they send me a free selection of samples. I've got to know so many nice fragrances this way. If companies are generous, I'm also more likely to patronise them. I bought a 50ml atomiser of Divine L'Homme Sage after they kindly sent me some nice samples.

    I've also bought some sample sets, from Miller Harris, and Les Senteurs here in London. It's so nice to wear a different scent each day.

    The only drawback is that with some scents, I almost need more than 1.5ml or whatever to get a reasonable amount to reapply during a day. The Dior Homme sample was really mean, only 1ml. Not enough for a day's use :-(

    HermŤs samples are quite large 4ml and they are very generous at giving them if you go to the boutique and show interest.


    ____________________________________
    My Current Top 5: Terre d'HermŤs | Terre de Bois by Miller Harris | L'Homme Sage by Divine | Neroli Sauvage by Creed | Philosykos by Diptyque

  16. #16

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    When a fragrance obsession strikes me, I think will try the small bottle route.
    Last "have to have it" was Montana's original scent for women...I had only sniffed it once, but the word discontinued made it seem like an imperative.
    Luckily I chose to get the 1 oz size...I got it and it was "so-so".

    I really really want to be good.

    Another problem I have is a reluctance to wear some of my things for fear of running low..as if I could. What posseses those of us with irrational hoarding impulses?

  17. #17

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Zibeline, I stop using what I have when it gets around 3/4 full. There are only 2 fragrances that I've ever used the whole bottle and the reason was I DIDN'T like them that much and just wanted them out of my life. The more I like a scent the less I use it. So years pass, and I have all these mostly full bottles that go to waste and turn bad. Now, if I haven't worn it in 6 months and it was under $30, I just try to give it away... not worth decanting, but if it's niche then I'll decant so I don't lose too much money.

  18. #18

    Talking Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Good old niche! The only one I"ve gotten involved with is MPG...and fortunately they come in half ounce sizes. The only one I have a large bottle of is Jardin Blanc, and only 'cause I bought it for a song on ebay.

    The glories of the super expensive fragrance is fortunately one I haven't indulged in. My samples of L'Artisan and such have been suffiecient. Luckily I have never felt a big rush from the SLs.

  19. #19

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    If you ever need some MPG EAU De MURE let me know. I have the BIG bottle and will NEVER EVER use it all, I'd hate for it to go to waste. I bought the 15ml of Secrete Datura from Beautyhabit, $40 for something sooo tiny. Speaking of hoarding, this winter I went crazy for blackberry/musk frags. I had to get 2 bottles of Les Nereides Musc de Java, 2 bottles Mure et Musc, a BIG bottle of Eau de Mure and a bottle of MURE MUSC extrait from L'Aromarine. I guess I was afraid the world of perfume was about to run out of blackberry essence or something like that. Guess what I'm NOT so crazy about now.... Good heavens.

  20. #20

    Unhappy Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    I fit right into that pattern. I have many unopened boxes of duplicates in case this was the elusive "one".
    Scents that have fallen into that category are Libertine, Boudoir, No 5 (I never wear this one), Lauren (because it was discontinued), Cialenga (on a recommendation), and I have several opened and one unopened bottles of Le de Givenchy, my first love.

    I am probably forgetting a few.

  21. #21

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    I LIKE the idea of keeping statistics on what I wear! Maybe that will help me realize that spending lots of money on something I will only wear twice is a foul idea? Like keeping a food diary for weight loss?

  22. #22

    Default Re: curbing addiction with samples?

    Very good thread so far.

    I'm right there with CoL, or well, very close to him. I can hardly use up my samples since I know that if I love the scent I probably want the full bottle as well. Since I can't always afford that I can't bare with the idea of using up all the juice. Not even if it is a fragrance I find only to be good or blah. I still like samples in a way though, since I get to try a lot of stuff without having to shell out the money for the huge bottles. I guess that goes without saying.

    But I try not to buy anything in sizes bigger than 50ml, I just know I won't use it all since I constantly get more and more fragrances.

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