I have to admit that I don’t watch True Life very often, but from the episodes that I have watched, the compulsive shopper episode is my favorite. If you haven’t yet seen it, you can view it here.
It’s tempting to rake them over the coals for their addiction, and I’m a bit surprised at exactly how concerned over fashion that Gabby is, but it’s not just teenagers with a clothes addiction that have this sort of problem! I’ve read blogs that have called both of them shallow, but how is what they do any different from expensive cars and houses? No, they cannot afford spending at the level that they do, but apparently many people in this economy couldn’t as evidenced by the numerous people that lost their homes. What’s the difference between accruing credit card debt to buy things you cannot afford and buying a home you can’t afford? I realize that’s not the entirety of the problem with the mortgage industry crisis, but it’s a chunk of it.
I could relate to Ali more than Gabby because Gabby felt she didn’t have a problem. Ali knows that her debt and spending is taking her in a direction she didn’t want to go. I could SO relate to the emotions that she expressed about spending. She mentioned that it helped to alleviate hostility when she would go out and spend. It did exactly the same thing for me too. I just felt an overwhelming relief after I would spend that would be carried over when I would get home with my purchases. The problem is that it wouldn’t last long.
I could also relate to her midnight CVS runs! Even haircare, skincare and makeup purchases can relieve a little stress. Yes, I know the feeling well.
I’ve watched this episode many times, and I find Ali’s shopping and story to be triggering to my own spending issues, but I like it. How messed up is that?
Virtually everything that she expresses about shopping is relateable within my own “addiction”. When Alicia comes out of the mall with the two bags and talks about what she purchased and how she has a “weight off of” her shoulders, I just thought about how many times I would get back from shopping and feel that way. As an interesting side note, online shopping is not as satisfying! There is something about walking through the mall and handling merchandise. I’m convinced that it’s the shopping addicts of the world that will keep what malls we have left open. Shopping online is convenient, but it doesn’t carry equal satisfaction.
Ali and Gabby are/were (the show aired in July 2009) representative of a lot more of the population in the U.S. than we probably care to admit. I’m not a superficial person. I care about what is going on in this world. I’ve been somewhat of an activist on issues that were important to me. I’m not of the belief that someone has to sacrifice in service to all as a part of their life. People have a right to live for themselves. It’s not a matter of either/or, but of striking a balance. We got a glimpse into one aspect of their lives. It’s not fair to call them superficial because they aren’t sending their extra dollars to feed and help educate the poor in Africa.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a result of my spending is that it’s better to spend on experiences than it is to spend on things. Have good friends and good times. Worth more than all the clothes and accessories in the world.