Shoptimism. From the moment I heard the term I instantly felt a little better. Let me explain. I’ve spent most of December racking up on door-buster sales at the Durham’s South Point Mall and this past weekend’s discounts were unbelievably deep. Some stores offered 25% off full-priced items and one store in particular offered a whopping 40% off your total purchases. I bit and I bit hard.
Needless to say, after racking up all those purchases I felt, well, a little guilty. But author Lee Einsberg made me feel a little better. His new book (and coined term) “Shoptimism”, seeks to explain why the American consumer will keep on buying no matter what. According to Einsberg, shopping helps give us meaning by boosting our ego and satisfying certain emotional needs. And when it comes to needs vs. wants, Einsberg says there is no simple distinction between these consumer classifications. Sure we need shelter, but what kind of shelter? An apartment, a boat house, a shack or a mansion? Einsberg claims that we need to expand the definition of “wants” to encapsulate our emotional needs. I think Einsberg might be on to something here.
Despite the recession, our shopping malls and districts appear to be full of shoppers (even at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning) and their wallets are wide open. I look forward to delving into all of Einsberg’s theories on modern selling and shopping over the holidays. I have a feeling it might soothe my shopper’s guilt. If you need some literary balm for your shopper’s guilt check out Einsberg’s book here or hear the author talk about “Shoptimism” here.

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