Although omniomania is not a new disorder, it has become easier and easier to become a compulsive shopper. It appears that Americans, especially in large cities, won’t walk more than a block to reach a 7-11, convenient stores are literally on every corner. Store owners know that the word “sale”, especially when combined with the word “clearance”, has a magnetic pull to the inside of their stores. Couponing has become a nationally recognized competitive sport. Ad flyers not only come in the mail, but additionally make up about 75% of your Sunday newspaper. You buy something from one catalog and suddenly you are on the mailing list for about 50 more. Sellers come door to door peddling anything from window panes to magazines (some have a few sob stories to share). You open your email and half of the messages are from vendors selling products or services. Online shopping is one of several computer-based activities that have an addictive component; others include online gambling, online porn, and video gaming. You simply can’t avoid advertisements that are on any web site. Oh yes, there are always people selling you things or services on TV and radio. They have even come up with new intriguing terminology to entice potential buyers like “risk fee”, “just pay separate shipping and handling fees”, “last chance”, and “but order now and you will receive”. I could go on ad nauseam, but you get the point.
Compulsive shopping/buying disorder behaviors occur year round, but are definitely more problematic during the Christmas season. Try to remember while you are out shopping, no one has specified you as the one to get us over the fiscal cliff. Save some money, maybe invest it (maybe not); you are bound to need it later.