Like most activities, shopping can fulfill multiple purposes — it's a way of getting things we need, but also often a social activity or a boredom and stress buster. And new research from San Francisco State University confirms something you may have long expected, that "sport shoppers" shop largely for the thrill of the hunt for a good deal (not mostly to fulfill needs or save money). As business professor Kathleen O'Donnell and colleagues have published recently in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services on the basis of their research, a "sport shopper" is a woman "who often can afford the items she buys at full price, but who bargain hunts for the thrill of it. She is competitive and enjoys outsmarting the retail system."
Sound familiar? Though there's nothing inherently wrong with sport shopping, it could easily create problems for you if you're getting satisfaction mostly from purchases well-made and not from other sources like friends, family, and work. It's unsustainable to hit the stores to keep your self-esteem afloat, and will leave you with a seriously cluttered home besides. Moreover, shopping for sport can easily derail you from appreciating what you already have and focusing on what you really need, key elements of a balanced life.
Everyone likes to get a good deal, but here are 5 ways to tell you're a sport shopper. And whether you think you're a sport shopper (or an actual shopping addict) or not, now's the time to refresh on ways to avoid making impulse purchases this season.
1. You spend a disproportionate amount of time researching purchases
There's nothing wrong with looking for a good deal, especially on big-ticket items like cars and jewelry. But if you find yourself comparison shopping every last item, every time, right down to pricing toilet paper by the sheet, you may be a sport shopper.
2. You focus on prices instead of the bigger picture
Since sport shopping is about outsmarting the retail system, sport shoppers may focus too much on the sticker price of items instead of their overall cost. Driving from store to store to return things to save a few dollars may cost you more in gas. Buying stuff in bulk means you've transferred the cost of storing it from the store to yourself.
3. Your shopping has become the basis for friendships
It's not healthy to socialize primarily with people who frequent online forums dedicated to coupon clipping and discount code swapping. I can (sort of) see why it would be fun to be the champion of one of these venues, but you need to branch out.
4. You are infuriated when you realize you could have spent less
Everyone feels annoyed when they receive a promotional email for 40 percent off at a store the day after they ordered at just 30 percent off. But this isn't the type of thing you should lose sleep or become literally enraged over.
5. Shopping losses are ruined forever
For a true sport shopper, items they could have done better on may become painful reminders of a shopping loss. But that handbag or kitchen implement you paid "too much" for is still useful, so suck it up and enjoy it anyways.