DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My mom has always been a big shopper. She would go to the mall, buy a few things, then bring them home and decide what she would keep. Usually most of the purchases would be returned, because honestly, I think it was more of a hobby than anything else, especially when my dad is not around. He has always traveled a lot for his work, and even now he still has to be away about a quarter of the time. But what used to keep her busy for a day or two while Dad was away, has become something she does even when he is home.
Now, in addition to her spending so much time making purchases, returning unwanted things is a different process than bringing them back to the store. Fortunately, she doesn’t spend too much money on the shopping sprees, but it is worrying me that she is accumulating a lot of stuff she does not really need or want.
Do you think she is becoming a shopaholic? --- DAUGHTER OF A MAYBE SHOPAHOLIC
DEAR DAUGHTER OF A MAYBE shopaholic: It could be your mom is just using what’s traditionally been a hobby to help keep herself feeling mentally better during these stressful times.
Perhaps you could suggest to her that if she doesn’t want to either keep or go through the bother of returning some of the merchandise, and if she isn’t losing more money than she can afford through her over-buying, she could consider donating it to a local charity that takes the types of goods she’s accumulating. There are a lot of people in need who would make good use of the donations.
If you continue to be concerned that your mother’s hobby is becoming a bad habit, or worse, there are reputable resources, many of them online, to determine if someone is addicted to shopping, and how to help them help themselves if they are.