Sometimes people ask me this question: do shopping addictions really exist?
Sometimes this question is asked outright, in words very similar to those. Sometimes it is asked without any words being spoken, and the question is there in the lift of an eyebrow when I tell people what I do with my time and my talents.
I’m going to change the question I posed in the title, because the answer is most assuredly yes: shopping addictions DO exist.
But just how bad can a shopping addiction really become?
These two stories tell extreme tales of compulsive shopping run amok. Shopping addictions left unchecked. And a huge price to be paid as a result.
£15,000 worth of counterfeit handbags
Tracey Haddow is described as a “shopaholic housewife” and she’s just been sentenced to 180 hours of community service for trademark violations. This is all happening in Scotland, I might add.
And what does this have to do with shopping addictions? Well, the police found over £15,000 worth of counterfeit handbags and other el-fako branded items in her home, and the extent of these el-fako items adds up to a violation of trademark law.
Who hasn’t bought a knock-off somewhere along the line? Whether it’s at the Ladies Market in Hong Kong or Canal Street in New York City, knock-offs are easy to find.
I’ve never heard of a consumer being hit with trademark violation before though. I guess it was the size of her stash that made it hard for the police to simply slap her wrist and let her go with a warning. They say she had over 200 identical el-fako designer shirts.
$1.5 million of embezzled funds
Betty Jean Barachie was sentenced to over 2 years in prison for embezzling $1.5million dollars from her employer. And why did she do this? To feed her compulsive shopping habit.
Now Betty Jean bought some interesting stuff, including nearly 60 coats, and hundreds of pairs of shoes and handbags.
All of that is fairly incredible but it wasn’t until I read that she had also purchased 16 chain saws and a tractor that I knew she had an extreme problem. I can’t even remember the last time I accidentally came across a chain saw in a store, let alone imagining the effort she must have exerted to sourcing
one 16 and actually making the purchase.
So shopping addictions are most definitely real, and the repercussions can be devastating. They’re not always as dramatic as the stories of Tracey and Betty Jean, sure. But the impacts are just as real, even without the chainsaws.
The women who do our program have a self-confessed compulsion to shop, addiction to shopping or a more garden variety shopping problem they would like to change. One of our members recently reported that she’s saved nearly $5000 on the program so far – and she’s only just halfway through. If you’re interested in achieving a similar result, come join the program today.
and get your assessment tool: Are You Addicted to Shopping?
and report and email series: The 12 Secrets to Less Shopping - More Style