“Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition.”
Scenario 1: Your kid is feeling a little blue. So you head out to the local ice cream parlor, saddle up to a double scoop, and share a little relaxed one on one time.
You just spent some money to improve your kid’s mood.
The spending was just a modest backdrop. The focus was on quality time. No budgets were harmed along the way. No buyer’s remorse later.
Scenario 2: Your kid is feeling a little blue. So you head out to the mall, fill up your shopping bags with things you don’t need, and revel in the act of consumption.
You just spent a bunch of money to cheer up your kid’s disposition. (Perhaps you even did it to improve your kid’s feelings toward you.)
The spending was the therapy. The focus was the act of consumption itself. You may have even torched the family budget along the way. Hello buyer’s remorse.
OK, those are obvious examples. But sometimes the line between retail normalcy and retail therapy can be a lot harder to discern. That’s why it’s always good to have the discussion with your kids:
“What’s the purpose behind this purchase?”
The more conscious your kids are about retail therapy, the less likely they are to seek it as adults.
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