First and foremost, it’s important to know why we shop and how it becomes addictive.
We are told by the media what we ‘need’, and what we must have to be happy. When we buy something, we instantly attain the gratifying reward of contentment and pride. We are told it feels great to shop. And so, it often does! Having more things shows wealth, and being plentiful in supplies and riches means you are not only surviving, but thriving.
It’s not just the media putting these unconscious desires and thoughts into our consumerist minds.
Theory has it, that if we see something that is in seemingly scarce supply, we act like our ancestors once did… and stock up on it! If something is 50% off, we feel as though we must buy it because otherwise it will be gone forever. Even though we don’t ‘need’ a sequined pink skirt to keep ourselves alive, the ancient instinct to squirrel rare items away still haunts us.
On top of these feelings, we use shopping to heal our sadness and stress. Shopping restores control. The shopper can picture their future with the new item in it. This gives back their power, when the rest of their life is unknown due to a baby on the way, stressed marriages, or scary university exams looming. There’s a reason we call it ‘retail therapy’!