“When the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping,” This statement may not be a familiar statement for many persons however this statement is aimed at making light the situation of compulsive buying. This phenomenon however is a serious one, compulsive and impulsive buying are described to be two of the most persistent phenomenon of the consumer lifestyle (Shahjehnan et al. 2011). According to the American Journal of psychiatry, compulsive buying is the uncontrolled urge to buy, resulting in adverse consequences. These adverse effects can be characterized by an obsession with shopping so as to fill a gap or emptiness that the individual may be experiencing at the time. It is also noteworthy to state that compulsive buying is not limited to people who spend beyond their means, but it also includes those who spend a great amount of time shopping or thinking about shopping for things to buy and never purchase them. Compulsive buyers overspend and often times the excess is for something that is neither important nor needed. According to psychologists, compulsive buying is seen as a disorder; though not researched to its fullest extent, it is stated that buying brings about a certain euphoria like that experienced when one drinks (Landau, 2012).
Compulsive buying is seen to be an abnormal behavior that disrupts the normal life of the individual. It is characterized by “chronic buying episodes” as stated in (O’Guinn & Faber 1988, p.) these buying episodes may produce temporary positive feelings for the individual. In other words, buying makes these individuals happy even if this happiness is only short term. It is important to understand who usually are compulsive buyers and what causes this behavior.
As stated in O’Guinn and Faber (1989) materialistic values have constantly been correlated to compulsive buying in a number of researches. Richins and Dawson (1992) states that materialism is the expressing of importance of material things as well as finding happiness, satisfaction and success by the means of the number of things acquired. It can thus be deduced that often materialistic persons are in fact compulsive buyers. In a research conducted on college students materialistic tendencies are increasing amongst youth and college students (Nguyen, 2003), this increase in materialism is seen as an expression of individuality. Compulsive buying can also be expressed in individuals who generally sees shopping as leisure. This can be stemmed from people having a childhood in which their parent...