Theoretically, we should shop when we need to. But shopping doesn’t happen like that, whether it is offline or over the internet. We buy things for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we buy when we find something irresistible. We also make a purchase when there is a special discount offer, as this lets us save money. We buy when an outfit idea is trending – we must get it if many others are wearing the style.
There are other reasons too why most of us make purchases, even though we might not need the stuff. It has been said that we buy when we are depressed, and we also buy if we are feeling elated.
It now seems that this could be true. According to the findings of a new study, retail therapy has a therapeutic effect on the human body. In other words, it can make us feel better. Now, new information from Arizona State University is ready to delight shopaholics everywhere, suggesting that you can actually make yourself feel better by shopping after a bad day or tough rejection.
But there are caveats. You need to buy the right thing in order to benefit from the feel-good power. Specifically, avoid purchasing anything that might remind you of whatever ache you are trying to find a salve for. Also, you need not feel sorry after you have made the purchase.
“You have to improve what you are not good on, and just buying products that signal certain desired traits will not be enough”, explained Monika Lisjak, assistant professor of marketing at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
What this means is that, if you are bummed about not getting a raise at work, hitting the shops and splashing out on a new, polished dress for the office is likely to make you feel worse, not better, since it will remind you of the issue that got you to take out your credit card in the first place.
Lisjak’s work found that if a shopper did buy something that related to the area that was upsetting her, she would in fact feel worse. Shopping won’t work here. And not just that, her subsequent behavior is also likely to be affected. Conversely, if the retail therapy was for an irrelevant item (for instance a new bag or pair of shoes), then you will feel good and perform better.
So, the next time you are feeling burned out by work, you should actually go for a new pair of jeans or workout clothes. Get the best one you can find. In other words, get something completely inappropriate for the office. It could just work. Try it.