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.

2 thoughts on “Spent”

  1. My means of distraction and comfort usually involves eating. Luckily, I'm active enough to keep myself at an average weight, but could certainly benefit from some healthier comfort-seeking habits.

  2. There is something certainly addictive about shopping. Even if you're a bargain shopper. I often have to remind myself that a great deal isn't a great deal if I won't get a lot of use out of the item. I've also found that shopping is sort of like eating potato chips–it's difficult to stop at just one store or item.


Leave a Comment