One decade ago, Rebecca Bloomwood, portrayed by Isla Fisher, swiped her way into our hearts and into lots of credit card debt as a result of her shopping addiction (at least she had great clothes!). Yes, "Confessions of Shopaholic" premiered this week ten years ago (feel old yet?). We all related to how this quirky protagonist used retail therapy as a panacea for all ailments, and her trials and tribulations after impulsive shopping sprees. But much has changed in retail over the past decade. Technology, e-commerce and social trends have harmonized symbiotically to feed into our obsession, affecting the latest generation of shopaholics...
For starters, it's much easier to fall into the trap of reckless shopping when all you have to do is click a button. Online shopping has been a game changer. When all you need is to pull out your phone to purchase items from any store in the world, things can get dangerous. Forgot your wallet at home? No problem when all of the sites you shop on remember your credit card information! Is pressing on that "check out" button even actually spending money? Of course it is, but it sure doesn't feel like it!
And let's not forget about sales! The wise Rebecca said "my heart never beats as fast as it does when I see a 'reduced by 50-percent' sign" and while that is still extremely #relatable, it seems like the sales never stop! We don't have to wait to spot a sign on a storefront to know when they're having a sale, the well-informed digital marketing gods keep our inboxes full of exclusive deals, promocodes, and private offers to entice us to cave into our materialistic desires.
Can you remember a world when Instagram didn't exist (hint: Rebecca Bloomwood didn't have an account, because the platform wasn't released until a year after the movie came out)? Have you ever thought "maybe I should get a new cashmere sweater" and the next morning there is an ad for cashmere sweaters on your feed, or an influencer is wearing that same item? Consumer-focused data tracking practices have gotten so sophisticated that it's as if apps like Instagram can read our minds. This sorcery makes it harder not to "proceed to checkout" immediately, especially when our phones are showing us items we want before we even knew we wanted them!
As much as these innovations make it hard for us to ignore the call of retail therapy, they can also help us correct our mistakes. While Rebecca Bloomwood did not have an option but to resort to selling her entire wardrobe when her obsession got out of hand, we now have access to technology and services that offer as readily-available solutions to any shopaholic's nightmares. Yes, we are constantly enticed to make regrettable purchases, but we can also right a wrong by simply downloading an app that will do it for us.