Could I be a compulsive shopper?

Over the past weeks, I have found myself doing a lot of shopping. Some of the shopping was for a church event for 100 people, some was for a nonprofit that I do volunteer work for, and some for my family.

I was in and out many stores, looking for certain items and a great price. And on my third trip to the local dollar store, the clerk joked, “You must be one of those compulsive shoppers.” Oh dear, I am sure she was being funny and trying to be friendly but her comment gave me pause.

Yes, I did enjoy the finding of some items and I did enjoy the bringing back to bounty to share with the other team members, but did the make me a compulsive shopper? But I had the nagging worry as I quite often volunteer to be that “shopper” person for group’s events. Given my ability to decorate tables or create a theme look in a large room or my ability to ask merchants for Door Prizes, maybe shopping is my forte. Yet that little comment drew me to do some research about compulsive shopping.

There is a recognized diagnosis of Compulsive Shopping. One book listed 20 questions you can review to see if you are a Compulsive Shopper. I read them with interest, checked my behavior over the past weeks, and honestly, I did answer two with a ‘yes.’ Debtor’s Anonymous offers a series of 15 questions on the Web site. Thankfully, I fell short of the eight needed ‘yes’ answers to be identified as a potential compulsive debtor.

After reading up the topic, I gained some new understanding of people using retail therapy to help deal with issues in their life. Next time there is a meeting, I think I will volunteer to make a salad or learn how to make tissue paper flowers.

Cathy Williams is a former writer for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
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