Retail Therapy : Shopping, Happiness and Life

“I’ve no idea when I’m going to wear it, the girl replied calmly. I only knew that I had to have it. Once I tried it on, well… She shrugged. The dress claimed me.”
― Isabel Wolff, A Vintage Affair

I feel this certain déjà vu for Wolff’s statement above and I know why. It is something that keeps happening to me every time I am shopping. Every Single time. I wonder what love- hate relationship I have with the malls. They can give me the instant bout of happiness, almost like spring after cold, stark winters. It can make me sad too, when I am sold to something and they don’t have my size, or when they are running a discount sale on everything but what I like. Even worse, the stores are all full of last season’s dead stock. Yeah all of it and more but nothing compares to the ecstasy of the dress claiming you, or maybe a pair of shoes- just the right shade. Women and shopping have had a symbiotic relationship ever since either exist. Men and shopping however are believed not to co-exist. I know men who love shopping, I know some who hate it too. I know women who hate shopping too, does that make them any less a woman? I don’t think so. Shopping, I believe is a therapy, they’ve named it retail therapy too. Not all therapies suit everyone but to those who love shopping, you are just slightly more my favourite people.

“Have you ever considered what Adam and Eve were doing when they got into so much trouble? As I read the story, they were shopping. The forbidden fruit was not scattered throughout the garden, not in many places, not in multiple locations, but one place, one site, one location and one location only. Perhaps they just came upon it, “Oh, look, the forbidden fruit…” or, perhaps, they were looking for something, searching, shopping. Somewhere in their dissatisfaction they thought, “If only we had something more…” 
― David W. Jones, Enough: and Other Magic Words to Transform Your Life

David W Jones made me slightly less guilty, for now I know shopping belongs to our genes, if the myth goes right and we are descendants to Adam and Eve. Preserving the traits to your DNA is no crime after all. Shopping is what makes the world, remember the story of the forbidden fruit? And those who don’t believe me, might as well try. If it does not de-stress you, you’re made of some other DNA. The only stress might be the price tag, the rest is all a therapy. Just going over racks after racks can make you so engrossed that you would hardly care of the world at all.


“I love shopping. There is a little bit of magic found in buying something new. It is instant gratification, a quick fix.
― Rebecca Bloom, Girl Anatomy: A Novel

The idea of retail therapy has its own logic too. You are distracted basically from a whole lot of other things that seem to bother you. Distractions from bothering don’t come easy. You cannot be sure if you’d be distracted enough in the spa therapy you’ve booked. In shopping you have no option. You have to give in your opinions and pieces of mind in selecting what you need and what you want. Maybe even what you don’t need, don’t want but you just can’t leave. And that makes you buy a lot. A lot. You understand my emotions if you identify with Caleana :

“When Celaena returned to her rooms that afternoon, lugging hat boxes, colorful bags full of perfume and sweets, and brown paper parcels with the books she absolutely had to read immediately, she nearly dropped it all at the sight of Dorian Havilliard sitting in her foyer.
“Gods above,” he said, taking in all of her purchases.
He didn’t know the half of it. This was just what she could carry. More had been ordered, and more would be delivered soon.” 
― Sarah Maas

This keeps happening to my dad a lot many times, almost always when both his daughters decide to kidnap his wife for a shopping trip. He may pretend a Dorian Havilliard with his sighs of Gods above, but truly he would never have paid for our trips so readily if it didn’t make us happy, and him happy too.

“The secret idea she was forming of an afterlife gave her the foothold she needed to endure the agonies to come, a newfound courage and optimism which found instant expression through SHOPPING.” 
― Lucy Ellmann, Dot in the Universe

Shopping can be learning too. It teaches you of optimism when you are not carrying enough cash and choose to convince yourself it won’t be sold when you return tomorrow. Even more when they don’t have your size, you buy the smaller one being sure that you’ll drop those pounds before you get an opportunity to wear it any ways. It teaches you to let go when you’ve bought a dozen already and there’s still more you like but you know the other dozen you liked more. It teaches you to be alone but not unhappy because shopping done alone is most satisfactory, nobody has any views against your choices. It teaches to take better decisions. They are all lessons of life and shopping is the teacher. Why won’t it make you happy then? There’s window shopping too by the way, and that is not bad either. It might make your world better.

 “When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.
(Confessions of a Shopaholic-the movie)” 
― Sophie Kinsella

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