I feel I have been both uncharacteristically frank, while at the same time completely lying to pretty much everyone I know, about my “shopaholic” tendencies. I’m not proud of it and to be honest I think a lot of my humor, sarcasm and frankness comes from how ashamed of it I am. I don’t want to live in debt, I don’t want my son to grow up not being able to do fun things because his mama blew all our savings at Target and I definitely don’t cherish the pit I get in my stomach when I realize our mortgage due date doesn’t quite line up with our heaviest paycheck.
If you’ve done any of the following you may be in the same boat as me:
- Hidden purchases in the trunk of your car because your spouse, parent, partner, family member or friend was home and you didn’t want to unload the goods and feel the wrath of their judgment.
- Told one of the above people, who probably loves and cares about you, that the new item you have in your possession was a gift from _____.
- Unboxed, ripped off tags, or even reboxed/bagged items you purchased so that you could say an item wasn’t new.
- Gone shopping, spent way more then you planned and then went back the next day to return it.
- Opened credit cards, lines of credit or store cards so that you could spend money under the radar from your loved ones.
- Considered (or even done so) stealing items or money to feed your shopping habits.
If you said yes to any of these I want to tell you that you aren’t alone and while being ashamed is probably the correct response, beating yourself up doesn’t really do much to help you…or at least it hasn’t helped me. In truth nothing has really helped me. I live to shop. I have considered making it a career choice, and actually in some ways I did make it a career choice when I got my degree in supply and logistics management. Spending other people’s money would be fantastic, but mostly I just spend my own.
I’ve been wide awake in the middle of the night fretting over when certain transactions would post because we needed to pay rent or buy groceries. Actually I used to take a check book with me to the grocery store because I knew that I could go grocery shopping the evening before pay day, even when we had zero money, and it wouldn’t overdraw me because the check would post after pay day. Actually one of the reasons I opened up a Target Red Card (debit card) was not only for the 5% off all purchases but because their system has about a 3 day delay to post to my bank account. This is not a fun way to live and isn’t worth the cute new top, or shoes, or whatever it is I threw in my cart, so why do I do it?
Here’s the emotions that drive me to shop:
Sad – I shop
Angry/Frustrated – I shop
Bored – I shop
Entitlement (example “I worked really hard all week I DESERVE this”) – I shop
Heavily medicated – I shop (seriously I will share a funny story on this later on)
Really the only time I don’t shop for crap I don’t need is when I’m either sleeping or happy. When my world is a mess and I have no idea what to do I go to Target and wander the aisles. I make excuses and tell myself amazing lies about how badly I deserve these “gifts” to myself, or to my family. It’s sad. It’s killed at least one relationship. It’s put strain on my marriage and lost me trust from people I respect. Just writing these words make me want to cry because I’m 30 years old and I know better, yet I still do it.
They say the first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit you have a problem…well world here you go I HAVE A PROBLEM!