Why We Love to Shop

We are constantly exposed to flashy, loud, and repetitive advertisements that all try to persuade us to buy something.  Marketers research extensively on what, how, when, and where to deliver these messages and there is definite proof that ads work.  But why are we so gullible and malleable?  It all comes down to feeling.

We put up with so many daily annoyances and disappointments.  We get cut off, stood up, let down, talked over.  We rush to be late, we make a mess when we clean, we wait for the screen to load errors.  When will we ever finally book in time to stretch, lean back, and let go?  

We need good feelings throughout the day to get us through the day.  We seek out "feel-good" moments to balance the "feel-bad" ones.  Daily routines like lining up for a specialty coffee in the morning, the luxury car wash option on your lunch, hitting the movie theatre with your beau after dinner -- we all look for positive ways to brighten our moods.

Shopping can be a great form of retail therapy.  When you fight to lose 15 pounds, how good does it feel to buy a new dress?  When you book a beach house getaway for the long weekend after nailing a big work project, how exciting is it to shop for brand new swim wear?  Or when the break up crying stops, how refreshing is it to buy a silky new set of bed sheets?   Buying something new can represent much more than the material thing that it is.  Something new can be a fresh start, full of exciting new possibilities and new hopes.  It can also offer closure on past negativity by refocusing your attention to the present and future.

Shopping can also replace poor habits with benign activities.  Over-eating, drinking, gambling, smoking, etc. are things people do to satiate their brain’s reward centres.  But the costs are extremely detrimental.  In moderation, regular retail therapy can provide you with a pleasurable, memorable experience and provide you with something of value, of use, and of beauty.  New clothes can also give you an air of confidence, better posture, and an esteemed following.  And we all know that appearances are the first impression.  So by putting down the fork, the glass, the dice, and the butt, and seeking out new apparel instead to gratify your senses, it can be a life-changer.