Shopaholics Not So Anonymous

Even with a closet full of clothes, I can never find something to wear. I find myself sitting in class envisioning outfits and collaborations of what I own with an imaginary item and going out to find it to add to my collection of fashion. I am addicted to the ideas in my head about what I want and where I can actualize these ideas to bring them to life.

Cotton is an addiction of mine, and swiping my card to acquire it is second nature to me as part of a fashion hungry generation. I am well aware that I should be saving my money for a rainy day, or as my parents would much rather prefer, for a successful future. But I am sadly an addict, a victim, if you will, to the high that is accompanied by feeling and looking my best in the things that I purchase and wear.

This feeling is common amongst other versions of shopaholics. But what is a shopaholic? Can a shopping addiction be measured by the amount of clothes you have in your closet? The numbers in your bank account? Maybe it is the amount of technology that you own or the number of books you have lining your wall. This is the mystery behind shopaholics, it isn’t just fashion or clothes, it seems to be an addiction of anything you can spend your money on.

A shopaholic is defined as “a compulsive shopper” by Google Dictionary. What is compulsive though? Kat Sanchez, 19, a sophomore at the university tells me that she shops repetitively every two weeks for clothing, but if she sees something in between the time period of her shopping sprees she’ll pick it up without question. Sanchez classifies herself as a shopaholic, and for a college student I suppose her self-classification is correct through her eyes as well as many others who are struggling to look good, yet are trying to afford to keep up with the rest of the college atmosphere.

Many female college students here at the university are the most interested in items that feed into self-love, self-appreciation, and fanciful food to assuage their need to shop along with their want to feel new and remarkable through their purchases. This is what I have learned through what I purchase and why I purchase things as well.

Hasha Daswani, 20, a senior at the university also classifies herself as a shopaholic in terms of buying clothing and makeup. “During the summer I would shop weekly, usually thrifting, but now that school is in session I am not doing it as much, but I like to buy things that make me feel pretty,” she said.

College shoppers are a different breed. While we still may have the impulses to buy items that a woman with a sugar daddy does, we have to be economical and minimalistic in our shopping endeavors even though this is not always the priority.

While collegiate women shoppers are more interested in items like clothing and beauty materials, it is clear that collegiate men are shoppers, too, but in a completely different capacity.

Tyler Duke, 21, a senior at the university tells me that he spends the majority of his money on eating out, and a similar answer arose when I spoke to Corey Sondgroth, 24, a nursing student at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Sondgroth explained, “It is hard to save money because I eat out so much.”

Could a compulsive eating out habit be a form of shopaholism? Is a foodie just another version of a shopaholic? It seems as though it may be another form of coercion we impose on ourselves and seems to be uncontrollable in the light of all the things that money can buy to satisfy our watering mouths.

There is also another form of shopaholism, where you are addicted to going out just to see things and feel the items that could potentially be yours day-to-day, but not spending until you see the exact thing that you want.

“I go shopping everyday, but I don’t spend money everyday. I wait until I find what I need and what I want in an item, piece of clothing, or whatever else may be on my mind for purchase at the time.” Says Chelsey Gray, 25, a hairstylist in the Reno area.

What makes people want to shop so much? Is it fitting in? Being happy with material items? Maybe it is using these material items to make us feel better.

Shopping feeds my soul, it gives me the opportunity to create outfits, find myself, and be something brand new with every purchase. There is a strong feeling connected with getting something new, I feel new. I am recreated from a retail haven upon each purchase, and that is why I will never stop shopping despite the college student struggle to maintain three digits in my checking account.