Enjoying Retail Therapy … Online

Did you know that Retail Therapy is a real thing? While many actual therapists scoff at the notion of calling the act of shopping “therapy,” there are some brave therapists who aren’t afraid to bypass their $100 an hour fee and admit that shopping for mood elevation, comfort, and catharsis actually works!  Hello? Sounds like therapy to me!

In a Time article entitled, “Is Retail Therapy for Real? 5 Ways Shopping Is Actually Good for You,” Kit Yarrow stated:

A survey conducted by TNS Global on behalf of Ebates.com found that more than half of Americans (52%, including 64% of women and 40% of men) admit to engaging in “retail therapy”… This echoes a previous study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing, that revealed 62% of shoppers had purchased something to cheer themselves up, and another 28% had purchased as a form of celebration.

So far so good. Personally, I enjoy a little retail therapy myself now and again. While it’s very, very rare that I want to actually go to a retail store, outlet, or a crowded mall, I have made online shopping something of an art form. Okay, maybe when I claim to partake of a little retail therapy “every now and again” I actually mean “fairly often.” Online. In my own defense, I do have seven children.

No thanks.

Crowds make me feel like a sperm trying to get to the egg.

I know, I’m a People Person, right? So I should love the hustle and bustle of shopping on my feet at a busy shopping center. But I don’t. Why not? Oh, let me count the ways…

First, there’s the parking lot. As you scout for a space that isn’t a mile’s hike from the one store you need to enter, the law of averages is never in your favor, and you always get stuck behind the one driver who is crawling along at a snail’s pace before screeching to a dead stop in the middle of the lane, apparently waiting for someone to vacate their space or Hell to freeze over, whichever comes first.

Finding that perfect space always seems to be a problem, too. And on the off chance you do spot the perfect space, YES!, as you approach you notice at the last moment that there is either a teensy little compact car or a motorcycle hidden in  there. So, you give up on finding the perfect spot and, defeated, you alter your course and begin to hunt for any adequate vacant parking space.

Ah! There it is! In desperation you barely avoid clipping the band of teenagers who insist on hogging the entire thru lane by walking in a giant cluster, charging towards the one available spot in your line of view — if the oncoming vehicle whose driver has also spotted your space at the exact same moment you did and glares at you because you managed to hit your blinker just a millisecond before them doesn’t decide to play Chicken —  you approach your spot with triumphant glee only to witness…

An asshole has already parked there.

So, the Parking gods have finally beaten you down and you concede defeat. You find a space, trek the quarter mile to the first entrance you can find, and enter the mall. Then the real horror begins.

Have you seen some of the characters that hang out at the mall these days? I’d rather eat dirt than bump up against some of them. Call me a shopping snob if you must, but I don’t dig maneuvering my way through hoards of pushy, presumptuous shoppers who expect you and the hundred other fellow shoppers to yield to them as well as their humongous shopping bags and tacky, super colossal designer handbags. Neither do I care for the inconvenience of having to plan a super-stealth strategy to get around bulky over-stuffed kiosks.

And the salespeople. Ugh, don’t get me started. If you can actually locate the one clerk who isn’t busy playing Candy Crush on their smartphone, they’re likely to (a) stare at you with a dazed look that says I have no idea what you’re saying to me right now or (b) glare at you with a bitter mug because you actually caught them and asked for assistance. Let me tell you, I worked in retail management for years, and I can tell you with complete authority and not a trace of irony that Mall Workers all have one maxim: I don’t get paid enough to put up with your crap, Lady.



I have one exception to my “real life” retail shopping disdain. Bookstores. LOVE. They’re usually more intimate, and definitely more quiet, than a mall. I especially enjoy mom-and-pop used book stores because the only thing that smells better than old books is a baby’s head. Now, some of the characters that hang out at book stores can be a little quirky. But that’s okay. They’re my people.

By far, my favorite retail therapy takes place in the comfort of my own home. No parking, no competition, no rude sales clerks, and no waiting at the checkout lane. Plus, it feels like Christmas every time the UPS driver comes to my door. SCORE! So, enjoy a little retail therapy in the comfort of your own home today. You have my permission. You’re welcome.

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