Retail Therapy Works .. Research Confirms!

Jul 25, 2011 by

Shopping as “therapy” is effective at elevating mood, and it doesn’t lead to buyer’s regret. All of the shoppers in a research sample said they had bought themselves a treat during the past week—ranging from a fishing reel to a kitchen magnet—and 62% of the treat purchases were motivated by a desire to repair a bad mood, say A. Selin Atalay of HEC Paris in France and Margaret G. Meloy of Penn State.

Asked about their post-purchase feelings, 82% of participants had only positive things to say. There seem to be few, if any, downside consequences of retail therapy, the researchers say. Source: Retail Therapy: A Strategic Effort to Improve Mood

I KNEW IT!  Ever wonder why our society feels compelled to spend a fortune in time and research expense to prove what every woman has known all along?  On the other hand, I love the validation.  This research in particular started me thinking. When do I indulge in “retail therapy” and what are my favorite guilty pleasures?  (I found this question particularly apt on the way home from the grocery store the other night with a pint of Dove’s “Unconditional Chocolate” safely stowed in the back seat. If you’re a chocolate lover you HAVE to try it.)

My retail therapy tends to be either funky or food-oriented. Why food?  That’s easy: I can go overboard without breaking the bank!  A half pound of smoked salmon, a single lobster tail, one small, perfect filet mignon, a pint of raspberries or ripe bing cherries. And the reward is double!  Shopping AND eating!  How can that be bad?

As for funky shopping I’m crazy about Cherokee Street! This St. Louis attraction offers everything from salvaged architectural elements and vintage furs and clothing to an Irish pub. You can find used book stores, trays of vintage rhinestone jewelry (a personal favorite), odd lighting fixtures, exquisite bits of old china (my cats eat off mismatched, vintage, cup-less Limoges saucers) and glassware and vintage radios.

I never miss Panorama Antiques and Whimsies and my home and the homes of those on my Christmas list are dotted with painted trays and furniture, vases, vintage jewelry, folk art Christmas decorations, handmade rag dolls and more from Tom Lawless and Mitch Huett, Panorama’s resident artists. The joy of the hunt, and of finding that one-of-a-kind item that will delight and amuse friends and family, is enhanced by the charming company. Truly retail therapy that works!

So, what is your favorite form of retail therapy?  Where do you indulge and why?  Share your secrets with the rest of us!

Note: The Harvard Business Review’s DAILY STAT forwards intriguing information about business and the economy daily.

Graphic credit: San Francisco Travel

About the Author

Tani Wolff Has Written 17 Articles For Us!

I also write for a college admissions blog and create marketing materials. However, my true passion is preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season. I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together pieces that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community. It is truly a labor of love.
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