Track 3 on Create Without Caution is “Shopping Spree,” the only song I know of that takes direct aim at people like the narrator who use shopping like alcoholics use the drink.
Most people find the song lighthearted. After all, “retail therapy,” as it’s commonly called, seems on the outside to be one of the least destructive of habits – much more benign than alcoholism, for sure. And how can we forget that it’s one that benefits the economy, too!
But there’s more lurking under the surface. Just like any other blues song, the pain the narrator feels is real and the destruction that it can cause to individuals and families is real, too. He suffers because he’s an addict who feels compelled to spend money and cannot turn the car around when he knows he ought to go back home. The alcoholic takes another drink and another. The shopaholic buys one thing and then another. And both will never feel satisfied.
Sadly, you won’t find shopaholism in the DSM-5. And you won’t find sex or stealing in there, either. These issues are not recognized as diseases – yet.
In the meantime, I sing the song to entertain, of course, but also to inform. And I don’t think it’s only shopaholics that benefit from the message. Don’t many of us eat a whole pint of ice cream when we’re sad or watch two more episodes when we don’t want to face an uncomfortable silence with our loved one? We’re all massively adept at distracting ourselves and it’s okay until it ain’t. Just like a harmless Shopping Spree.
My own personal bout with shopping addiction was much less destructive thanks to a growing realization that I was using shopping to escape my feelings. I shopped when I was sad or bored because it was a means to an end – to feel something, a rush of glee, perhaps, and then, inevitably, shame.
Luckily, I learned that there are other ways to deal with feelings like talking about them with Beth or writing a song. And neither of those, my friends, are available on Amazon.