Shop till you Drop…Literally

Whether its online, in a mall, or at local boutiques, we all love shopping. It has almost become part of our culture, heck we even have an entire day dedicated to shopping, or better known as Black Friday. Anyways, most of us go shopping on occasion, to pick up that season’s necessitates. For others, it can actually be an addiction, better know as “shopoholism,” that can lead to financial downfall. 

Donald Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine states that, “like other addictions, it basically has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulses. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping.”

There are many tell tale signs that that someone’s excessive shopping has actually become and addiction. For example, spending way over budget is a clear sign that someone has a shopping problem. Ruth Engs, EdD, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University, states that, “often times a person will spend over their budget and get into deep financial trouble, spending well above their income”. She goes on to add, “the normal person will say, ‘Oops, I can’t afford to buy this or that.’ But not someone who has an addiction.” Basically, he or she does not recognize the boundaries of a budget or that they have a problem. In addition, a shopaholic will also compulsively buy items. For example, if a person goes into a store for a shirt and comes out with 15, they clearly have a problem.

Like any other addiction, those get involved in a vicious circle. “Some people will take their purchases back because they feel guilty,” says Engs. “That guilt can trigger another shopping spree, so it’s a vicious circle.” Although debt may not be an issue for some of these shopaholics,  because they’re consistently returning clothes out of guilt — but a problem still exists.

These behaviors such as compulsive shopping and buying things way over budget and can also be gateways to a more serious problem: Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely. Shopaholics also have arguments with loved ones about shopping habits and the fact that they feel lost without credit cards .

I know we all feel a sense of euphoria when we finally get that new pair of shoes we’ve been wanting since we could remember but being a shopaholic is can ultimately ruin your life. Be careful at those BOGO sales. 

9 thoughts on “Shop till you Drop…Literally

  1. Xingchen Zhou

    This blog really caught my attention by drawing the issue that happens to our life. The shopping is really a way to vary one’s mood, in some people’s mind. Buying something new can deliver them temporary pleasant, but it will fall them into endless circle. The blog remind the concept of rational consumption, and it is what teenagers should learn from now.

  2. Victoria Chelsea Bushman

    This post sort of sounds like me, which is why it caught my eye. In my last blog period I did a similar post on impulse shopping, which I counter goes hand in hand with a shopping addiction (as being addicted to shopping would suggest most of the purchasing is out of an impulse). In fact there is some psychology behind all of it!

  3. Walt

    What I find interesting, at least from personal experience, is that shopaholics are not limited to the wealthy. To gain experience in sales (and of course make money) I sold women’s shoes at Macy’s at the Ross Park Mall in Pittsburgh. During my time there, I noticed frequent customers, and to my disappointment (it was a commissioned based wage) most of the regulars did not buy the more expensive shoes on display. I think this is an important anecdote because people usually assume that shopaholics always live outside of their means. From my observations, one can still enjoy shopping, buy material goods, and still be thrifty.

  4. Nancy Hilary Berman

    Even though I have a large space in my heart for shopping, I have always been known as the “cheap” person in my friend group. Rather than waste money on expensive clothes, I take advantage of sale sections on shopping websites. Shopping online allows people to set a price limit before purchasing, which can be calculated by a website itself. In addition to being able to clearly watch prices, I also appreciate the availability of coupons online. More likely than not, doing a Google search can help a shopper find a coupon they would not otherwise be able to find with an in-store value. Another advantage of online shopping directly correlates with your article. Impulse buys are strategically located by registers, for shoppers to make last minute purchases to add to their total price of the purchase. When shopping online, it is harder to get distracted by impulses. On the most literal level, shopping online also allows shoppers to purchase clothes wherever they want, whenever they want, and therefore do not need to struggle through the pain of “shop till you drop!”

  5. hiw5140

    Oh dear. This certainly sounds like a problem I might have! So my question is when does a person’s shopping habits go from “oh she shops a lot” to “oh she is a shopaholic.” How is someone diagnosed? Then what happens? Does that person receive counseling? Also, an interesting topic might be to do a study to see if this is more common in women than in men and why. Heres an interesting article on shopoholism in America.

  6. Emily Josephine Engle

    This blog stood out to me because I would highly consider myself a “Shopaholic”. I like to shop when I’m sad, when I want to reward myself, and basically any other reason I can think of. In an article published by healthy place, they say that shopaholics continue with their destructive behaviors for a high. This causes them to lose control and continue to buy things that they don’t need.

  7. Shannon Bridget Obrien

    This post was hard for me to read. I am an avid shopper. I love shopping. I’d go every day and buy everything I tried on if I could. I think retail therapy is definitely a useful tool to destress, if you have the funds and are being responsible with purchases. You talked about impulse buys, something I can relate to, but I think this is highly relatable to retail therapy. A lot of times when you’re upset or not in the right state of mind when shopping you could be buying things that you don’t need or even like, this can cause big problems. However, it can also cause pleasure and the shoes you bought could give you a sense of happiness, even if it is not a permanent fix. In this study, it shows the positive affects of buying clothing It shows that 40 percent of people felt more in control when shopping rather than browsing people who felt sad. So for now, shop on… in moderation that is.

  8. Cali Nicole Wojciechowski

    Love what you did here. I recently read a study that pay in cash hurts. Brian Knutson gave people money and had they shop online. He had them in a brain scanner while looking at products. Whenever a subject saw a high priced object their insula was activated (the part of brain related to disgust/pain). A co-author said that it was different with credit cards than cash. He said “credit cards effectively anesthetize the pain of paying.” Source.Source. So do you think this could relate to why a shopaholic may dig themselves further into debt by using credit/debit cards instead of cash?

  9. Shannon Elizabeth Kress

    This article caught my attention because my mom and I always joke around about “retail therapy”. We joke that when you are upset that shopping makes you feel better. We both knew it was true, and not the best way of dealing with things but your post was easy for me to relate to because of that. Here is an article that talks about retail therapy more in depth.

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