An Essay on Shopaholism Based on the Movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2009)
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a 2009 movie adaptation of the Shopaholics Series written by British author, Sophie Kinsella. The series was a major success worldwide that marked the start of chick-lit trend (light, everyday literature for women), which describes Becky Bloomwood as a young, attractive woman with a big heart, big dreams – and just one little weakness: her excessive lust in shopping According to Wikipedia, shopaholism is a compulsive-impulsive spending behavior, also known as “compulsive spending/buying”. This definition that involves “buying” might be a little confusing if compared with literal definition of “shopping” in the word “shopaholism” itself, which is to seek for information related to goods and/or services either for buying purpose (purchasing) or non-buying purpose (examining, making recommendations, etc). To shop does not necessarily mean to buy: one may buy without shopping or, conversely, shop without buying. Furthermore, the suffix -holic is added to a subject to denote addiction to the preceding activity, thus, shopaholic means a person who is addicted to shopping. Hence the definition, most articles from various sources indicates shopaholism as the same thing as compulsive buying – basically says that being shopaholics means being addicted to buying, rather than to shopping. This little confusion about the terminology might be trivial to some, but significant to the others, including me. As a damsel in this particular shopper/buyer/consumer behavior subject, I feel the need of getting into definitions to straighten perception and ensure understanding. From the research I have conducted which result is as mentioned above, I have to say that aligning shopaholism and compulsiveness in spending/buying is incorrect by literal means. Specific definition of the term compulsive buying was proposed by McElroy in 1994 as “a pertaining amusement, obsession, and impulse to buy or shop”. McElroy used the word “shop” here to serve general misuse of diction that puts “shop” and “buy” as synonymous, where in fact they are not. McElroy specified “buy or shop” as frequent preoccupations with buying or impulses to buy that are experienced as irresistible and senseless, on items that are not needed or cannot be afforded. These traits, as McElroy stated, might cause distress, were time-consuming, interfered with social or occupational functioning, or resulted in financial problems. In the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic”, its heroine, Becky Bloomwood, experiences pretty much everything that McElroy stated above. She finds spending as an irresistible preoccupation that she keeps doing over and over again that she quotes “…When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it's not, and I need to do it again”. Spending for Becky Bloomwood does not require logical thinking and often on items that are not needed (she spends $200 on designer underwear for the reason that underwear is a basic human right and $78 on peculiar lavender honey just because the seller had lazy eyes, she said). Her world then starts to fall apart as her credit card bills go over the limits and she is trapped in a serious debt she has no clue how to pay. She is in so much distress that she handles her problem with attempts to run away from it by constant lying to avoid her bank’s debt collector (departing aunt, travel to Finland, stalker accuse of the debt collector, broken leg, etc.). By this, she loses integrity in her career as a financial journalist and later on loses the job. Aside from definitional blurs the title serves in the correlation of shopping versus buying, the movie provides plenty of rooms to analyze Becky Bloomwood’s shopping/buying/consuming behavior (to be referred as shopping behavior hereinafter for short). Costumer’s shopping behavior is derived from patterns in her decision-making process. When marketers master...
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