Today I was on the phone with a female friend of mine as she was shopping. We were having the usual “what’s going on with you exchange”.
The background noises coming from her phone sounded like those of a store.
I asked her,
“Are you shopping?”
She responded with,
“Yes, I’m engaging in retail therapy”.
I vaguely remember hearing that term somewhere in the past and dismissing it as a buzzword of sorts. I even found some humor in what term suggest. Women, synonymous with shopping, for the most part, engaging in a therapeutic regimen that suggested they continue practicing the habit they are trying to diminish.
I laughed and leaned on my friend humorously about this. She seriously gave me a synopsis of the concept that made sense. So much so I went in search of more information and found a vast amount of it, all supporting her synopsis and motivating me to bring it to my blog page to share.
So for all of you that can take a moment from “therapy”, enjoy the post.
Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition. (1) Often seen in people during periods of depression or transition, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as “comfort buys.”
Retail therapy was first used as a term 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.”
In 2001, the European Union conducted a study finding that 33% of shoppers surveyed had “high level of addiction to rash or unnecessary consumption’.”
This was causing debt problems for many with the problem being particularly bad in young Scottish people. They didn’t bother to stop in America and take a look-see, because I can tell you the same was going on here.
Now my dear friend was dead on point with the Wikipedia’s submission that Retail Therapy need not be a negative term. Her description of shopping for bargains making her feel good validated studies that give validity to the fact the term itself describes the pleasures of the total shopping experience.
Shopping as a way of boosting one’s mood does not necessarily involve rash or inadvisable purchases. Again my friend is a very rational and responsible lady so her engaging in Retail Therapy as it is described is not a bad or unusual thing for a woman of her caliber.
I did learn from research that, retail addiction or shopping addiction should be considered a separate and serious problem.
The term “therapy” by definition implies a treatment for a problem (here, depression or stress), not a problem itself. Retail therapy may be the wrong treatment in many cases, but it is not, by definition, dangerous or problematic.
I still say a woman, albeit a smart one indeed, came up with this. I always thought therapy was treatment or behavior management directed at getting one around, beyond or over a compulsive, detestable habit. Here ,however we have therapy as the reason to engage in the habit. I’m scratching my bald head on this.
Women, I love yall, I really do, but you all can be slicker than greased bbs when you get ready to be….this is good.
Okay, I have one we fellows should start engaging in immediately. Actually I have two. Beer and football therapy, and romantic (got to keep the post clean) gratification therapy.
What say you? Hit me back with your comments.