Why do people go shopping and buy things they have absolutely no intention of keeping? In my vast retail experience, I have often wondered why. It is kinda like the question, “where do elephants go to die?” I haven’t yet completely and accurately defined the type of shopper who is a serial returner but I recently comprised a list of attributes many of them share:
- bored and lonely
- crave the attention of a sales person to fawn on you and tell you how amazing their product makes you look.
- hungry but trying to lose weight so you go shopping instead of eating
- waiting for your kids to finish some random activity such as a movie, sports, or dance
- fighting with your significant other and taking it out on his credit card
- one too many martinis (actually that is more a problem with online shopping. still applies here)
I am a firm believer in retail therapy. There has been numerous times that I have wandered the aisles of Costco, Target or Trader Joe’s because of any one of the above listed reasons. It can feel uplifting to forget your sorrows while focusing on shoes (my personal favorite). The difference is that I do not usually act on the urge to buy if I really don’t want anything.
Maybe this is why I visit a self-service store when shopping for retail therapy purposes. I peruse the aisles, pick things up, maybe try them on. Then while I am walking decide if I really want to purchase what I am looking at or simply put it back in its place.
Many salespeople are on commission and it hurts their personal sales (i.e. paycheck) when you randomly return every item you purchase. They don’t usually take it personally but if you are identified in an establishment as a return-a-holic, good luck getting service from anyone.