A self-destructive pattern: Retail therapy

Copyright © Leila Murseljevic
Copyright © Leila Murseljevic

“My wife left me. I was upset. I got into a self-destructive pattern”, were the exact words of George Clooney in “Ocean’s Eleven”.

We quite often get into situations when we are provoked on daily basis, and those provocations build up during the week, sometimes even month(s). And it is quite expected that you always find a channel for ejecting unnecessary ‘files’ from your mind. “Listen, this is my hard drive and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful”, were the words of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.

Retail therapy is not a new thing. Various scholars have been conducting researches since the phrase has been coined in the 80s. Apparently it was “Chicago Tribune” who first mentioned it on Christmas Eve in 1984: “We’ve become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy.” 

An online survey conducted by TNS Global on behalf of Ebates.com in March 2013 found that more than half of Americans (52%, including 64% of women and 40% of men) admit to engaging in retail therapy to improve one’s mood.

Copyright © Leila Murseljevic
Copyright © Leila Murseljevic

Recent research conducted by Journal of Psychology and Marketing in the U.S. showed that retail therapy purchases “were overwhelmingly beneficial, leading to mood boosts and no regrets or guilt.”

Whether it is just a plain avoidance technique, to make us more vulnerable, or just a meaningless distraction, it is definitely a pleasant one. And the way I see it, and I am not an expert, we should exercise this right and the pleasure of shopping as much as we can.

Feeling bad? Stressed? Annoyed? You know what to do…go out and shop.


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