Retail therapy. The very term itself is a bit problematic. Do you think that any licensed therapist out there would consider shopping a form of therapy? Therapy, after all, is meant to heal something—is it not? And has a sweater ever healed your emotional wounds? Has a pair of heels ever made you feel better (probably literally not—since heels hurt like a m*$&%@!). I would file shopping under the same category as drinking, doing drugs, or having impulsive sex with strangers in the sense that, it makes us feel better in the moment, and then much worse after. True therapy should not leave you feeling worse. It shouldn’t leave you feeling regretful. You don’t leave a therapist’s office feeling ashamed of yourself—you feel proud of yourself. You feel like you put in some hard work and reaped the rewards. But, alas, our society accepts retail therapy as a real thing, and it permeates our culture so deeply, sometimes we don’t even realize it. Here are some scary truths about the concept of retail therapy.
It starts early
Even from a young age, when you were old enough to go without adult supervision but not quite old enough to drive, what would your parents do with you on a Saturday afternoon? They’d drop you off at the mall. You were conditioned, early on, to see the mall as a recreational place—somewhere to just hang around, passing the hours. Shopping was something you were taught to do when you just had nothing else to do. That does not set us up for a healthy relationship with the activity.