I remember learning for my MBA about people's shopping addiction (aka compulsive shopping) and how it consumes their time and money and fuels their self-esteem.
Like a high gotten from alcohol, drugs, and sex, shopping can give people a relief from the everyday stresses that engulf them.
An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (18 April 2013) called "A Closet Filled With Regrets" chronicles how people buy stuff they never wear and are sorry they bought it.
In fact, the article states, "Only about 20% of clothes in the average person's closet are worn on a regular basis."
One example given is a Pulitzer Prize -winning author who spent $587,000 on Gucci items between 2010-2012, before seeking treatment for his addiction.
A related disorder is shopper's remorse that occurs, because people second guess themselves and feel maybe an alternative would've been a better choice (i.e. they made a bad choice), they didn't really need the item to begin with (i.e. it was just impulsive), or that they spent too much (i.e. they got a bad deal).
For me, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I find that when I purchase something nice (not extravagant), I put away and also never wear it.
The difference for me is not that I have shoppers remorse, an addiction to shopping, or that I am unhappy with my purchase, but rather that I cannot wear it because I feel as a child of survivors that I have to save it--just in case.
No, it's not rational--even though I am a very practical and rational person in just about every other way.
It's just that having seen what can happen when times are bad--and people have nothing--I cannot bear to grant myself the luxury of actually wearing or using something really good.
Perhaps also, I look at my parent's generation, who suffered so much, and think why am I deserving of this?
They sacrificed and survived, so we (their children) could have it better--what every parent wants for their children, or should.
But still, in my heart, I know that I am the one who has had it easy compared to their lives, and so those purchases are going to stay right where they are--never worn until I donate them to Goodwill.
I never really considered them mine anyway. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)