Wednesday, June 6, 2007
(don't) SHOP 'TILL YOU DROP
Minda is a true compulsive shopper. She will make purchases long after she is over her head in debt. She suffers from a very real, and sometimes very frightening, lack of self-control. She has closets full of clothes she has never worn, and countless gadgets she has never used. She is so drowning in debt that her car has been repossessed and her house has been sold. Minda’s story is an example of how compulsive shopping may lead to bankruptcy.
Compulsive shopping can also cause significant impairment to family life. Some shopaholics make their children suffer. For instance, Rena, an executive secretary, takes her children to the mall whenever she goes shopping. She is so occupied with the shopping that she does not realize how she neglects her children, leaving them unattended at the mall. Her behavior makes her husband furious and when Rena and her husband fight about it, their children get depressed. Andrea, a hairstylist, is another shopaholic who is endangering her marriage with her compulsive shopping. Because of her spending sprees, her husband can no longer manage to pay their mounting debts.
Another danger is that compulsive shopping may lead to criminal behavior. Take Hartati for example. She began to shoplift on a regular basis. One day she went to a mall and spotted an interesting blouse. Since all her credit cards were over limit, she decided to steal it. She put the blouse on over her tank top and covered it with her cardigan sweater. A security guard stopped her. When her employers found out she was shoplifting, they fired her. Eventually she was sent to jail. Compulsive shopping thus transformed this former assistant lawyer into a lawbreaker.
However, there are some ways to control overspending and to treat compulsive shoppers. First, to avoid compulsive shopping, credit cards and ATM cards should be left at home. Use only cash. Second, if you spot something that you would like to purchase, never allow yourself to purchase it on the spot. Instead, walk away and give yourself some time to think. If you must, ask the store to hold it for you. Most stores will hold items for their customers for at least a day. If you still want the item in a few days, go back and make your thought-out purchase. Third, make a budget and put it on paper and do not allow yourself to purchase anything that is not in the budget. Fourth, write down everything you purchase for two weeks such as groceries, gas for your car, the electricity bill, and even that candy bar or bottled tea from the local stall! People may say you are a skinflint, but this habit could save you. It will make your more conscious of where your hard-earned money is going. Being more aware of your spending will make it easier for you to control your cash flow.
To conclude, avoid impulse buying because it may lead to compulsive shopping. Doubtlessly, we live in an acquisitive society. It is very easy to get carried away and become an impulsive shopper. An impulsive shopper is one-step away from becoming a compulsive shopper who shops to escape from the harsh reality of life. Whether you are an impulsive shopper or even a compulsive shopper, it is never too late to change your habits as long as you are determined.