What’s in a name?
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
― L.M. Montgomery,
As a pre-teen I loved Anne of Green Gables. I had no idea about Shakespeare or Tennyson at that stage and so all the literary quotes flew over my head. I mean, who the hell was the Lady of Shalott? Don’t laugh, but my 12 year old brain translated her name to ‘shallot’ and I simply did not understand… why the association with onions?
You see, I made assumptions based on her name. On my complete misinterpretation of her name. And clearly I was way off track.
It wasn’t long after I had started blogging as The Compulsive Consumer that I realised I’d made a blunder with my choice of name. Apart from the tongue-twisting alliteration and ease with which it can be misspelled, no one quite grasped my sense of irony.
There I was, aiming to help people become more thoughtful shoppers, to chose better, and spend less, and all the while the people I want to help are seeing my site name come up in search results or in their social media feed and are assuming I’m some kind of addicted shopper, mindlessly purchasing everything I see.
The Compulsive Consumer had become my version of Anne Shirley’s skunk cabbage. It had the wrong name. It didn’t smell as sweet. It stunk like onions.
But here we are, its a new year and its a good time for a fresh beginning, so…
Meet Betty Spender!
Betty was born out of an illustration I created for a post way back in March 2016. The post was about not ruining your retail karma, and as I meditated on what my ideal customer was like, cutting and pasting the elements together, Betty emerged before me in a halo of of lotus flowers and zen retail vibes. It was kismet.
Betty is a Shopping Guru. Equal parts Angel On Your Shoulder and Diabolical Enabler, one minute she’s steering you clear of imminent buyer’s remorse and the next, she’s tempting you with her latest bargainous find!
She is the unicorn of the retail world. The ideal customer. She knows exactly how to handle herself in store and is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to a sale. She never pays full price.
The exceptions to that rule being Chanel. And anything Limited Edition. Of course.
Well, this is awkward. Talking about myself in the 3rd person and all. But here goes…
Where The Compulsive Consumer had the wrong name, I had no name at all. From the outset I had decided I needed some level of anonymity. My day job still doesn’t know that in my spare time I write about retail and products that directly compete with the ones my company represents. Its a huge conflict of interest that I had decided to manage by being anonymous. I identified myself simply as CC (Compulsive Consumer) and avoided splashing my face all over my posts.
But being CC rather than Natalie came to irk me as much as the ‘The Compulsive Consumer’ being the totally wrong name for this site. Because the central theme to my writing is not just retail, but my personal journey through it. How you can you add your personality to your writing when you’re completely anonymous?
(Also, I have a bunch of things I’ve been given recently that are all monogrammed that I can’t blog about as CC when my initials are clearly NB!)
So lets throw caution to the wind.
My name is Natalie Banks. I write Betty Spender. Pleased to meet you.