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Shopping is life
It's okay to be addicted
By Nina Schwartz

Dedicated shoppers can walk into any store and find something they not only want, but need. Thrift stores, bookshops, hardware stores, upscale, low brow - none of that matters. They love nothing more than the thrill of a hard-won bargain, but they also derive immense satisfaction from splurging on the occasional obscenely expensive present to oneself (when they deserve it, of course). Those who do not share their passion call them any number of cruel names: materialistic, wasteful, irresponsible, squanderer. But they prefer to view it differently. They are appreciators of craft, connoisseurs of possibility and creativity. They can see the value in just about any piece of crap they find on a shelf, and are willing to give it a shot, willing to find a place for it in their lives. They are easily enthused, with imaginations rocketed forth by a miniature tart pan at Kitchen Arts, say, or a cabinet-knob display at Home Depot. They are flexible. They are generous. They are consumers.

Boston is no Paris or Milan, but if properly explored its offerings are limitless. All it takes is some patience and imagination, a little curiosity, and the fierce love of a challenge: all traits any good shopper should naturally possess. For we are a fighting breed, motivated, a problem-solving bunch, we consumers. What to do with that new chestnut-cracker you just bought at Williams-Sonoma? If only you had the corresponding chestnut pan to really do the job right. And the holiday-themed napkins and table runner. And holly to place on the center of each person's plate. Oh, and matching plates, of course. And ... hey, are the stores still open?