Jackie McGregor: Compulsive buying - could you be a shopaholic in denial?

I was practically salivating as I perused the goodies in the online sale. My eyes travelled over the seductive pouffes and elegant sofas, then I saw it, the chair of my dreams!
In the bag: Online shopping gives many of us a temporary adrenaline rushIn the bag: Online shopping gives many of us a temporary adrenaline rush
In the bag: Online shopping gives many of us a temporary adrenaline rush

I simply had to have it! Not only was it exactly what I’d been looking for, but it was half price! I found myself hyperventilating slightly as I began the payment process. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as I closed the deal. I fell back in my seat replete.

Unfortunately, the buying buzz didn’t last long, soon I found myself scrolling through blouses, I bagged some in my cyber basket and threw in a jaunty, knitted, hat for luck, I could still get wear out of it before summer. On reflection, perhaps I should look for some warm weather clothing in case there’s a sudden heatwave.

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Before you conclude that I’m shopaholic, I’m not! My spending is controlled, I just like to shop.

Days later, I was browsing bathroom accessories online when the doorbell rang. I answered to find a courier there with a parcel.

“Oh hi, didn’t you used to live down the road?” he asked surprised.

“Yes,” I answered.

“The guy who used to deliver your parcels had wondered where you’d gone, I cover for him some weekends. I just need to get a photograph for proof of delivery,” he said.

“Certainly,” I replied, “where do you want me?”

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He threw the parcel down, snapped it by my feet and beat a hasty retreat. I fell on it with relish, I couldn’t remember what I’d bought. I was a little deflated to find it was a toilet roll holder in the shape of a giraffe. I recalled I’d purchased it when I’d been feeling a bit low and had hoped some retail therapy would elicit some cheer, but the joy was fleeting!

Shopping addiction can develop in people who have deep rooted feelings that they are trying to avoid, like loneliness, anxiety or who feel out of control in some area of their lives and seek to acquire things to relieve the stress. It’s a socially acceptable addiction as we are constantly hounded by adverts telling us what to buy to improve our lives. It’s estimated that there are between 200,000 and 350,000 shopping addicts in the UK, with 90 percent of sufferers being women, thankfully I’m not one of them!

The following week, more purchases arrived with the same courier who’d delivered my giraffe toilet roll holder. He was smiling with his phone in his hand.

“I’ve got someone who wants to speak to you,” he said.

“Hi, it’s Len, I used to deliver your parcels at your other house, remember?” he shouted on speaker phone.

“Er, yes, Hi!” I replied flustered.

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“I thought something bad had happened to you, that you’d maybe passed away, because your parcel deliveries stopped; I asked your old neighbours, they said you’d moved. I’m glad you’re ok!”

I was lost for words. Mortified by the whole exchange, I slunk back indoors, blushing furiously. That’s when it really hit me; you know you’ve got a shopping problem when your parcel delivery person assumes, by your lack of orders, that you’re obviously dead!

My name is Jackie, and I’m a shopaholic!

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