What Shopping Can Lead To
What is shopping? Is shopping something we do for fun, for fashion, or to make us happy? Is shopping in our culture? Is shopping something we have learned from our parents, growing up? Shopping can be defined in many ways, but when does shopping become a problem? In “Shopping Spree, or Addiction” by Heather Hatfield, MD, she says “shopping can be one of America’s favorite past-times, but shopping can also lead to a self-destructive addiction that will cause financial disaster (1-2).” I’ll be going over two main factors, credit cards and the mall environment, that cause a shopping addiction, along with the type of illness, depression, that also causes a shopping addiction. I’ll also talk about the treatment individuals go through to overcome the addiction. The dictionary definition of shopping is the act of a person who shops. It does not define an overreaction to shopping. What is an overreaction to shopping? It’s a shopping addiction. A shopping addiction is referred to as shopoholism, and is just as unhealthy as alcoholism, drug abuse, and gambling. In some cases there are similarities amongst these addictions. For instance, alcoholics will hide their bottles, and shopaholics will hide their purchases. Having a shopping and spending addiction is defined as being inappropriate, excessive, and out of control. “Like other addictions, it has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulse. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping,” says Donald Black, MD (quoted in Hatifield 1-2). A article by David Futrelle, who is a licensed psychologist and prominent researcher of Shopoholism, states that shopoholism is an impulse control problem rather being an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For an example, a person with OCD will wash their hands and find relief whereas a compulsive shopper will get a high. The euphoria compulsive shoppers feel keeps them coming back for more, and more, and more (Futrelle). Individuals who are compulsive shoppers aren’t able to control their behavior through rational considerations. They will not be concerned if they don’t have enough money to pay. Since credit is so easily available, it makes it easy for people to spend, but before they know it they will find themselves in debt. The word credit card is in almost every shopaholic’s story. But it’s not credit cards that cause shopping addictions. According to statistics most individuals who develop this addiction are in their early twenties. Normally, this is after they get their first real job and their first credit card. It’s not just shopaholics who have problems spending with credit cards. It’s everyone. Using credit cards is easier, and we feel like we got it for free because no money has come out of our pocket, just not yet anyway. “People who use credit instead of cash tend to spend 20%-30% more than someone who is paying with cash” says Gary Herman, director of counseling services for consolidated credit (quoted in Futrelle). With all the spending that’s going on the debt keeps piling up. Individuals won’t know how much debt they are in. Eventually individuals will go into denial on how much they really spent and owe back. People will end up owing back twice as much as they thought they did. Credit cards aren’t to blame for addictive shopping; they just play a big part in a person’s life who is addicted to shopping. The way malls, stores, and advertisements are set up plays a big part on how people spend. Advertisers influence people to shop and spend more. Malls and shops are set up to attract people with their displays. For instance, people can go into their favorite store and there could be a sale. Of course the shopper will buy more than they really need because they feel like they have gotten a deal. “In a way malls and stores seduce us to buy, and it can lead to an addiction” says James J. Farrell who is a professor of...
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