Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Acquisition Addiction - Part 1

Before I jump into this post I have a confession to make. I’ve stolen the title from Beulah Alliance Church's sign in Edmonton. The two words screamed for my attention when I drove by the sign a few months ago. Immediately the squirrel in my brain started chattering!

In hope of finding a thought provoking sermon on the topic I clicked around their website but came up empty handed.  I couldn’t resist shamelessly ripping off the title and sharing some of my thoughts on the topic.

Acquisition addiction! How many of us suffer from this affliction? Probably everyone to some extent. We all have our little weakness – things inexplicably leap off the shelf and into our shopping cart. Perhaps it’s a collection of dolls, spoons, Christmas ornaments, or other essentially useless items. We're drawn to owning more and more and more...and more.

My four greatest shopping weaknesses are tea, candles, scarves and yarn (not necessarily in that order). I justify these because I drink the tea, I burn the candles, I wear the scarves and when I have time (sadly none recently) I knit.

But do I really NEED all the tea in my cupboard? Do I NEED shelves full of candles and accessories in the basement? Do I NEED a different scarf for every day of the week? Do I NEED four sweater kits when I haven’t had time to finish a single prayer shawl in the last six months? Of course not, but with acquisition addiction that’s not the point!

Why are we compelled to buy more “stuff”? I may joke about buying more tea or yarn but shopping addiction is a serious affliction leading to a rapid descent into overwhelming debt, depression and bankruptcy.

There’s a medical term for shopping addiction – oniomania. Oniomania is defined as, “a passion or mad desire to buy things.” Like any addiction, it is generally a symptom of some other underlying problem.  Oniomaniacs buy things to hide from pain, to reduce stress, to escape their problems, to boost their self esteem, to comfort themselves, to reward themselves, and to escape loneliness and depression.

We’ve just come through the highest spending time of the year – Christmas. People go in debt to put the best gifts under the tree. Relationships are judged on the value of the gift. Feelings of depression and loneliness run rampant as we compare our failed relationships to the “perfect family moment” playing in the movies and on TV. Consumer goods are purchased to numb the pain and marketers know it!

Does the acquisition of consumer goods satisfy? Can buying more “stuff” solve our problems? Can owning a new car, a flashy new cell phone, or an expensive new sweater change our self image, solve our relationship problems, or make us happy?

Please post your thoughts below (click on "comments"). 

Look for Acquisition Addiction – Part 2 next week.

No comments: