I’m three quarters of the way through Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict. The author explores a lifetime of shopping experiences that controlled her life and world. A dangerous shopping addiction forced her to forgo food and medical treatment in favor of new shoes, coats and facial cream.
Since I started reading the book I can’t stop thinking about my own shopping habits. I wrote about shopping on both Saturday and Monday and I’ve been in the store, just by chance, three out of the last five days.
Although I’m certainly not a shopping addict I do feel a commonality with the author. I recognize the emotional aspect of shopping and the various feelings it can evoke. I remember the joy and comfort I felt walking hand-in-hand through the mall with my mom. I remember hiding in the coat racks as a small child and I remember being punished when I was finally found by my mother who was desperately searching for me in the store.
As a preteen I vividly remember how cool I felt to walk the mall. I felt like such a grown up when my mom allowed me to shop without parental guidance. I thought I was an adult the first time I browsed through stores with other preteen girls.
And when I first got sick a few years back I would walk through stores as a means of pure distraction. Shopping created a numbing sensation that allowed me to think of other things, to stare at hundreds of unnecessary items and forget about my pain. Simply put, shopping provided me with a short, but much needed escape from my troubles.
While I don’t understand the specific highs and lows of finding the perfect shirt or the prettiest dress, I can certainly understand the emotional comfort shopping provides. While I was reading the book I couldn’t believe how many of my own childhood memories involved shopping and stores. And given my own drive to browse the isles while I was sick I can totally understand how one could go to the mall in an effort to forget about life for awhile.
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