Shopaholics Trying to Buy Self-Esteem
They love fawning clerks and attention, study says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2008 11:39 AM CDT
A shopper visits Macy's in Aventura Mall, Florida, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007.    (AP Photo/Mitchell Zachs)
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(Newser) – Shopaholics crave the self-esteem boost they get from interaction with retail staff far more than the actual goods they buy, new research shows. Psychiatrists believe the findings will lead to a new course of therapy, rather than the usual treatment of prescribing antidepressants, Deutsche Welle reports. The disorder affects up to 10% of Western consumers, researchers say, and can destroy lives.

The trick is to make shoppers aware that they're craving the praise of store clerks and to help them find other ways to boost self-worth. "Their conscious minds know, of course, that these people only want to make a commission on a sale," a researcher explained. "But their subconscious minds enjoy being treated as a special somebody."