Dopamine and online shopping

According to research, we get a dopamine surge from buying stuff that causes us to want more and more.

Delayed gratification when the order arrives a few days later also makes is more physiologically rewarding than shopping in stores.

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Money

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Buying endless stuff

Before the internet, we had to set time aside to walk and browse a physical store, which was only open for a certain number of hours.

Now, it has become effortless to buy things online from anywhere, anytime and for a very good price. We do it without a second thought. And in the process, we are accumulating a lot of stuff.

Some online shops have made it especially easy to shop with a one-click buying process. Most major retailers offer free shipping, and only one in ten consumers return stuff they've bought online.

Americans are also taking up more space with all the stuff they are amassing. Self-storage units are rapidly increasing too.

Opting out

Not everyone is part of this hoarding culture. Some people can't or don't shop online because they can't make ends meet or because they don't have credit cards. Some people are part of the zero-waste movement.

Demand  and consequences

As consumers demand cheaper clothing and other goods, manufacturing is spending less to make them, while the quality inevitably suffers. While some stuff can be recycled, often it ends up in landfills.

At Michigan State University, students leave so many packages of unopened food and toiletries behind, that the university started a program to get students to donate when they move out.

Kipple, a phrase coined fifty years ago, refers to "useless objects" that accumulate in a house.

Except, our modern-day "Kipple" does not just multiply by itself, we grow it ourselves and buying more of it, because we can.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Shopping due to being angry, sad or disappointed.
  • Shopping being the reason for problems or chaos.
  • Having arguments with others regarding spending habits.
  • Not leaving home without the credit card.
  • Buying on credit what cannot be bought by cash.
  • The act of spending causing anxiety and euphoria.
  • Shopping with a gambling mindset.
  • Feeling ashamed, embarrassed or guilty about buying useless stuff.
  • Lying and juggling bills and accounts to be able to spend more.

5

IDEAS

Don't buy clothes for a fantasy you. Because you may end up with a huge wardrobe with nothing to wear.
Take into account how you spend your daily life, how many similar items you already have and the time of the year (warm, cold) when making new purchases.

  • The day after Thanksgiving was a natural time for shoppers to head into town and hit the department store. Most families were still together from the prior day’s feast, and few middle-class folks were required to work.
  • Big-city shopping districts were anchored by department stores. Department stores sold clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, home goods, appliances, and much more.
  • With a single visit to a department store and a few side trips to specialty retailers, you could take care of your entire holiday shopping list in a single day.

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