Shopping: Favorite Pastime or Financial Disaster

January 14, 2011
By meyersh1 SILVER, Hartland, Wisconsin
meyersh1 SILVER, Hartland, Wisconsin
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

From a trip to the mall on a weekend afternoon with girlfriends to holiday hunts for the perfect gift, shopping can be called one of America’s favorite pastimes. For most this means some new clothes or a little something for a friend. For others, shopping is much more than an enjoyable pastime. It may be a fractious addiction that leads to financial disaster.
Shopping develops into a problem when it becomes out of control leading to loss of both emotional and basic needs as it does for former model Avis Cardella who went on to write a memoir about her personal experience. Marisa Meltzer author of ‘Hitting the Racks, Not the Bottle’ explains what it means to be addicted to shopping, how it has affected lives of famous shoppers, and what she believes causes shopping addictions.
Model Avis Cardella’s memoir Spent is one of many recent books by women about the unsatisfying search for fulfillment through shopping and purchasing. Shopping addictions ultimately impact life in a negative way. As Meltzer says Cardella “racked up thousands in credit-card debt, is late on her rent, and alienates friends, family, and lovers.” Meltzer rationalizes how the stores “fetishize” the process of spending by careful wrapping of goods and receipts discreetly placed in envelopes. Cardella as a shopaholic can take the blame for her habits but doesn’t recognize the underlying reasons why we are encouraged to buy. These reasons being comfort or to show status and the way stores advertise to target spenders.
Americans are materialistic. Having the newest and most popular items allow them to look the part they desire in society. Appearance is everything. To look good means more than to feel good. Insecure people can appear confident by what they wear and have.
Meltzer focuses on Cardella and her compulsive shopping. This may be an extreme case because she has lived in places like New York and L.A but the situation is very common. People find their selves spending too much and justifying it by the stress they have in their lives. As compulsive shopping is a relatively new term and has not yet been added to the list that would make it an official disorder, there are not many treatment options. Shoppers aren’t always aware of the reasons as to way they shop. There should be therapy to help victims of compulsive shopping and professionals to help manage their spending. By simply making them aware of the reasons why they like to spent, they can focus on what they lack in life, such as emotional needs.
Compulsive shoppers many times do not understand the ways companies prey on spenders. Magazines display advertisements that target spenders, as do credit card companies with high interest rates. Spenders are so into having the latest item that they don’t realize or care about the financial mistakes they are making.
Shopping is a favorite activity for girl time but it can also be a girl’s worst nightmare. Shopping can ruin one’s life if they are influenced too much by American culture and the media. It can become the center of life; therefore, it pushes out the most important people in life: family and friends.

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