Do you shop too much? The reasons why we buy so much stuff.
Updated: Aug 26
By now, most people know that society has a problem. The world has too much junk-literally. And we love it. After all, Americans throw away about 81 pounds of clothing yearly. We know that textile pollution is real and that some materials don’t biodegrade in our landfills. We know that fast fashion is contributing to climate change and that it’s perpetuating poor working and living conditions in the countries that we source to. These are things proven by science, facts, and common sense. And yet, WE STILL SHOP-even when we don’t need a thing. Why? Shopping doesn’t only fill a physical need. It fills an emotional need.
I have worked retail for almost all of my life and I have noticed that there are at least 3 different types of shoppers that come in beyond the normal “I need this” kind of shopper. Of course there are many sub-categories, but almost all compulsive shoppers can be traced to one of these (in my opinion). So, here they are.
The “BFF” Shopper
This is the shopper has a best friend in almost every store they shop in and they’ll make sure that they visit them at least once a month (maybe more). This person, more than likely, just needs personal interaction and shopping is a means to an end. They might just be lonely, but they notice that they get friendly smiles and conversation from the sales clerks so they just go for it. Shopping is just a byproduct to what they really need-a friend. Unfortunately, this means that they end up buying stuff that they don’t really need. Hoarder status? Maybe, but one thing’s for sure. They have to find a place to unload some of the stuff they buy. And hopefully, it’s not to the trash.
The “Stunner” Shopper
Do you have that friend that always has to show off what she has? Well guess what? She’s like that when she goes shopping, too. I can’t help but to cringe when a customer comes up to me bragging about what she’s found and what she has. Sometimes people are just that into themselves. But other times, people that shop to keep up with the Jones’ feel like they have to buy things to fit in. And that psychological need to fit in is costing them money and putting our natural resources at risk.
The “Addict” Shopper
Much like the “Stunner” shopper, the “Addict” shopper has a psychological need to shop. Sometimes, there’s something in their life that’s missing and they’ve used shopping to fill that void. And much like a person that’s addict to drugs or alcohol, they get a high from finding that next great find, or purchasing that “great deal.” I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many times I’ve had customers try to excuse their obsessive shopping with the statement , “I can’t pass it up. It’s such a great deal.” It’s only a great deal if you really need it and unfortunately, addicts aren’t able to effective see when they aren’t stewarding their resources well.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit when you have a problem, so I’m not going try to have you diagnose yourself here. But you might have a shopping issue if one of the following applies to YOU:
-YOU have to wait until your significant other is gone before you bring your shopping bags in the house.
-YOUR closet is so full you have to convert a bedroom into extra storage.
-YOU are on a first name basis with all of your delivery drivers-and it’s not because you’re that friendly.
-YOUR friends come over to raid you home instead of going to the store to shop.
-YOU feel the incessant need to buy something just because you have a little spare money in your pocket.
So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to put down the credit cards. And put down the keys. And follow us next week as we talk about how to change the way you think about common things like the way you shop, eat or treat your body. As a matter of fact, go ahead and sign up for our email address so we can send you those blog posts ASAP. Let’s normalize sustainability and change the world together!