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Youthquake: Confessions of a shopaholic

November 22, 2009

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It happens almost instantaneously. You're happily walking down the street one minute and the next you find yourself inside a retail store staring at a pair of high-heeled shoes, your mind racing with a million reasons per second why, oh why you should definitely buy it! Those reasons could range from they go with everything, the heel is perfect, it is what you always wanted, the style is very up-to-the-minute and no one has it yet, it's so 'you', etc. All you know is you must have them. You ask the shopkeeper for a pair to try on.

When you do, the effect is almost magical. If they fit right, you walk around the store and it's almost as if a single light is shining down from the heavens spotlighting you as you walk around the store. You see them from every possible angle walking forward, backward, do a little dance move to test their flexibility. The shoes do everything right and you run off to the ATM hoping you have just enough money left to buy them. Incidentally you do and you go home happy with a package tucked under your arm. Does it matter that, if you're a habitual shopper, the chances of you actually wearing that must-have shoes are probably (five out of 365 days of the year) one in 73?

One cardinal rule I've always followed is that I almost never venture near a market or a place which would feature something I'd like to buy but I don't have the cash to purchase it. This has almost always worked in preventing me from feeling 'deprived'.

Before readers begin to roll their eyes at the 'pretentious' notion of being a shopaholic, let me point out that we all have our guilty pleasures. For some that could be books, clothes, cell phones, DVDs, even something as small as stationery, we all have at least one product type that we're willing to spend a lot of money on every time we come across it.

With more and more young people (including women) actively working nowadays and having a greater disposable income, it is not surprising that there is a rapid increase in consumer culture. Why else would there be such a boom in advertising? In 'money-saving' deals? The 'exclusive' offers advertised day in day out just about everything.

It's taken a lot for me to admit that I happen to be one of those victims of the must-have/must-buy syndrome, or a shopaholic as the modern pop term describes us.

That realisation dawned on me the day I looked around and discovered I have around 60 books I bought but haven't read, more than a 100 magazines that suffer the same fate, some not even out of their packaging, a wardrobe full of clothes I've never worn and probably never will and around 10 pairs of shoes I spent a lot of money on but never really took out of their boxes. I even have around 10 pets, eight out of which I secretly wish I never bought.

However, I really hit rock bottom when I realised that one fine day, in about a matter of two months I had spent all my savings and I couldn't for the life of me, figure out on what?