We chronicle the angst of shopaholics, who wade through severe financial crisis due to their obsession with retail therapy...
A good majority of our mornings are spent deciding on what we want to wear. After a shopping spree, with a spilling closet and an empty wallet we still say, “I have nothing to wear”.
Focusing on the first half of the problem, we talk to youngsters who splurge on things they might not need and end up in debts or in a situation where they are not able to pay their bills by the end of the month.
One such person is, Ajeetha Gopal, an inventory analyst with Target. She says, “I am a shopping addict and I shop at least twice a week. If I go to a store and see something that I like or something that fits me well I buy it. I feel good when I shop — especially when I’m stressed, feeling low, or demotivated. If something goes wrong at work, shopping makes me feel better and confident.”
She adds, “I never regret what I buy. I easily spend around ` 20,000 a month on shopping. Most of the time, due to this habit, I’m broke by the end of the month.”
When asked if she considers this as a genuine problem, she says, “Inititially I didn’t think it was but now, yes. I feel incomplete if I don’t shop twice a week. I do intend on working on the problem because, as a 25-year-old I am supposed to be focusing on so many other important things rather than buying that perfume I love so much.”
And even if you are someone who is very conscious and aware of what you buy, I’m sure you know a friend, relative or colleague who is a shopaholic.
Kenneth George, a primary French teacher at Legacy School, tells us about one such person that he knows. He says, “I have a craze for antiques and I own a few of them. Most of the money I set aside from my salary goes into buying these antiques or cufflinks. Approximately I set aside a sum of 12 thousand for the same. I never cross my budget but I know someone like that. She splurges on things that she likes and might not even be necessary. She has exhausted her credit cards, taken loans and gotten into serious debt because of this habit. When I tried talking to her about it she refused doing any of it. She says she only buys things that are absolutely necessary.”
As relieving as shopping can be, it is toxic to indulge in it to an extent that it costs you your peace. But what happens when one isn’t aware of this habit?
Ricardo Lawrence, a coach in Technico Football Foundation, owns 52 pairs of shoes. When asked if he considers himself a shopaholic the answer was a definite no. He says, “I love shoes! If I see a pair that I really like I immediately buy them. I am into football. So, most of my shoes are football shoes. The prices of these shoes range from 4-20 thousand rupees and all of them are branded buys. There is no said frequency or budget that I have restricted myself to. I never shop because I am sad or in a particular state of mind, but buying these shoes do make me happy. If asked whether I consider myself a shopaholic, the answer is certainly a no!”
Delving deeper into the situation, we talk to an expert to find out if this is a problem at all, and if yes, how we can deal with it.
Anikha S J, a clinical psychologist, brings forth the importance of identifying such behaviour. She says, “Research suggests that emotions influence our financial decisions, there is no doubt that at some point we all take to retail to cope with our stress. But, the question is when does it turn pathological? Excessive buying could be a way to fill the void of low self esteem, emptiness, and gives an instant emotional boost which is very temporary. A shopping spree is not to be ignored as it could be a sign of mania or OCD. If an individual feels that a loved one is over indulgent and unable to stop, its time to raise alarm and seek help from mental health experts such as clinical psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists.”