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If You Shop Till You Drop….

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By Pranali Batra

Checklist:

  • Rush of adrenalin while walking into shopping mall
  • Staring for long hours at a gorgeous pair of shoes
  • Detesting an escort to the mall for fear of a restraint
  • Zealously desiring a particular scarf
  • Closet spills over each time opened

If your reply to any or all of the above questions was in the affirmative,my friend you could be in serious trouble. And unfortunately you are not alone. It has been estimated that at least one of every twenty people is facing with the fanatic urge to shop. Initially it was extensive only in America, ‘Shopaholism’ is now fast becoming a global phenomenon.

Erma Bombeck once said, “The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion is to one.”  This succinctly captures the very essence of Shopaholism. Shopaholic’ is a person, who suffers from a syndrome of excessive shopping. It is slang for ‘Oniomania’ or ‘Compulsive buying disorder’. Though described in this manner it sounds like a mild issue, the truth is that it has severe emotional, social, occupational and financial consequences.

This disorder is often associated with an emotional deprivation- either neglect suffered in childhood or the need to fill some internal void. It is common in those suffering from an identity crisis. Victims shop not to fulfill their needs, but rather to combat their woefully low self esteem. This act of shopping brings about a momentary rush of pleasure, satisfaction and some new meaning to their lives.

So, this is primarily a psychological disorder. It is one of the manifestations of depression that the victims may be undergoing. The addicts are victim to negative emotions like anger and stress, which lead to excessive purchasing. After the frenzy passes the person is either remorseful or further depressed. In order to cope with these acute emotions, the addiction resorts to another round of shopping. Thus, a vicious circle is created.

Enslaved in this trap, shopaholics often complain of visualizing a coat or a watch beckoning to them. Shopping in this sense can also be compared to gambling because of its intoxicating and irresistible nature.This chronic habit is increasingly being attributed to the widespread acceptance of plastic money for settling transactions- credit and debit cards  which has resulted in a certain ease of settling transactions by eliminating the need for cash in hand; hereby encouraging procrastination of payment.

And that’s not all! To add to the existing miseries of the addicts, retailers have taken it upon themselves to entice their customers by resorting to colorful and mesmerizing window displays. Advertisements that often exaggerate the beauty of the product and the actual requirement for it, are another added well calculated conspiracy. The ill effects are not limited to the individuals alone. Victims unable to control their urges may resort to illegal practices such as kleptomania. This leads to a rising crime rate and a plethora of unsuccessful relationships as well.

Shopaholics need to grasp that shopping is a fun activity designed to satisfy requirements and find pleasure in doing so. This level of obsession needless to say is extremely unhealthy. This tendency to overindulge may develop in people over time also. And it’s not always easy to recognize the signs of this problem or accept that you are prey to it. So the next time you go out make sure you actually need what you are aching to buy and ascertain whether or not this purchase will solve any purpose. But most importantly, check the price tag and do remember to match it with your bank balance before making any hasty buying decisions.

A message to all the shopaholics out there- SHOPPERS…… STOP!!! To be clear, I am not referring to the chain of retail outlets here. Bearing all of the above in mind, I for one declare shopping as the eight and deadliest cardinal sin of them all!

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