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Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer's mood or disposition. Often seen in people during periods of depression or stress, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as "comfort buys" (compare comfort food).

The name retail therapy is ironic and semifacetious, acknowledging that shopping hardly qualifies as true therapy in the medical or psychotherapeutic sense. It was first used in the 1980s, with the first reference being this sentence in the Chicago Tribune of Christmas Eve 1986: "We've become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy." [1]

The fact that shopping may provide a short time of comfort (relief from dysphoria) but also imposes costs and is subject to comedown and withdrawal make it, like opioid use, either a therapy or an addiction, depending on whether each person uses it adaptively or maladaptively. Retail therapy thus exists on a spectrum with shopping addiction (compulsive buying disorder). In 2001, the European Union conducted a study finding that 33% of shoppers surveyed had "high level of addiction to rash or unnecessary consumption".[2] This was causing debt problems for many. The same study also found that young Scottish people had the highest susceptibility to binge purchasing.

Researchers at Melbourne University have advocated its classification as a psychological disorder called oniomania or compulsive shopping disorder.[3]

Window shopping can offer some of the comfort of shopping. The advantage is that many items and many stores can be enjoyed without cost—far more than spending would allow. The disadvantage is that one cannot acquire or keep the items.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Schmich, Mary (24 December 1986). "A Stopwatch On Shopping". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Shopping can make you depressed"
  3. ^ "Investigating retail therapy"

References[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail_therapy — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

1023582 news items

The Detroit News

The Detroit News
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:07:30 -0700

If we're already bummed out and spending money, wouldn't it be nice if retail therapy would always buy us better feelings? Now, in teasing out the links between human psychology and physical purchases, researchers have found the very specific instances ...

Yahoo Celebrity UK

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Forbes

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Curbed National

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Fredericksburg.com
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:07:30 -0700

Do you use retail therapy to cure the blues? A study from Ebates.com, which provides cash back and other benefits to a roster of retailers, bets that you do. Some 51.8 percent of adult Americans—63.9 percent of women and 39.8 percent of men —report ...
 
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Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:32:50 -0800

“With low inflation, you can buy more stuff,” European Central Bank President Mario Draghi famously said in June 2013. Germany appears to have taken him at his word. German retail sales jumped 2.9% on the month in January and 5.3% on the year, data ...
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