Compulsive Consumption

Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century
Aubrey D’Agnolo
Section: Barbra Adams
Global Now: Abstract
Headline: ‘Addicted’ to Shopping?
Date: 09/03/2012
Source: The Atlantic

In his article ‘Addicted to Shopping’ Brian Fung discusses the psychological side effects of shopping. He reveals that “compulsive buying disorder affects between 5 percent and 15 percent of the population.” Compulsive shoppers tend to buy large quantities of lower priced items, which rack up to debt quickly. People also buy as a method of stress relief often buying in anticipation of the stressful event. After spending two years working as a sales associate for a large company I witnessed and even engaged in many retail therapy sessions. I often felt torn helping customers, my job was to encourage them to buy more regardless of my personal feelings toward consumerism. I probably watched hundreds of people indulge in impulse purchases on a weekly basis. Anne Balsam talks about designing culture in terms of technological developments and their integration into society. But what about the culture centered on spending where money and materialism rule? Don’t social media sites often serve as constantly flowing advertisements for us to display our individual look or lifestyle? How much of that lifestyle is centered on material possessions?
Global Issue: Consumerism
Primary Design Lens: Advertising
Secondary Design Lens: Social media

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