by Mad Dog
need love and understanding too. That’s why Conde Nast is putting
out a new magazine for women about shopping called Lucky.
Well, that and they smell money. Lots of it.
Shopping is serious business. Just ask anyone who’s woken
up at 6 A.M. to be the first in line to get an XFL Barbie for a
Christmas present, written a letter to the editor of the newspaper
asking why they don’t put all the ads in one handy pull-out
section instead of hiding them between those icky news articles, or
groused because stores don’t hold a sale on Martin Luther King’s
If you’re a
non-shopper like me it’s hard to relate. After all, you don’t
plan your week around sale days. It’s never crossed your mind that
a one-week-old cinder block with a lifetime warranty could need
replacing because it’s “Oh so yesterday.” And the idea of
driving halfway across the state to save less on a reconditioned
Thighmaster than the cost of the gas just doesn’t make sense,
especially since Suzanne Somers isn’t there to give a private
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be supportive of the poor,
unfortunate people who break out in a sweat anytime they see a
percent sign and the word “off” within two paragraphs of each
other. They need love and understanding too. That’s why Conde Nast
is putting out a new magazine for women about shopping called Lucky.
Well, that and they smell money. Lots of it.
little doubt the magazine will do well, especially on the newsstands
where it will be snapped up by single men who read the name but
don’t notice that the cover is trumpeting articles like “Second
mortgages—the key to your spring wardrobe”, “Online shopping,
can it fulfill more than just orders?”, and “If Nieman Marcus
can remember your dress size, why can’t hubby?”.
the American Psychiatric Association,
compulsive- shopping disorder is “a consuming need to buy
which often results in debt, personality and relationship disorders,
and if we have anything to do with it, a new boat after we have the
patient in therapy for a couple of years.”
Editor Kim France says, “It’s not a princess-y,
shopaholic magazine.” Right, and there will be an Elton John, Jr.
any day now. She says it’s aimed at those who love to shop as well
as those who hate it. How she intends on getting non-shoppers to
read a shopping magazine is beyond me, unless she’s planning on
having centerfolds featuring “The Hunks of Macy’s Shoe
is, should they be encouraging shopping? After all, like drinking,
gambling, and sex, too much shopping can lead to addiction. And like
the first two of these, we don’t want to get that carried away.
But if it
does, there’s help available. There’s Compulsive Shoppers
Anonymous, where people stand up and say, “Hi, my name is Shirley
and I found the cutest little monogrammed gold toothpick cleaner at
the Galleria the other day and just had to buy four of them.”
There are debt counselors who take people who are deep in debt, then
increase it by charging them to help get them out of debt, a concept
only Lewis Carroll, Bonnie and Clyde, or anyone who writes federal
tax regulations could appreciate.
And then there
are the psychiatrists, who have identified a syndrome they call
compulsive- shopping disorder. This isn’t to be confused with
compulsive-shopping reorder, which is when you get home with
something new and decide you simply have to have one in every color
so you run back out to buy them even though the house is on fire,
the dog is laying on its back with its feet in the air, and Survivor
2 is on. No, this is a bona fide,
health-insurance-will-pay-for-it, medical problem.
They say that in tests, 80 percent of the people who
took the drug improved. What they didn’t say was how much time
they spent going from pharmacy to pharmacy searching out the best
deal on their prescription.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (motto:
“Sometimes a cigar may just be a cigar, but that doesn’t mean we
can’t give it a fancy name and try to cure it.”), compulsive-
shopping disorder is “a consuming need to buy which often
results in debt, personality and relationship disorders, and if we
have anything to do with it, a new boat after we have the patient in
therapy for a couple of years.”
treatment is to have the patient come in twice a week in the hope
that the exorbitant fees mean they can’t afford to shop as much.
This is what’s known in psychiatry as transference, though in this
case it’s more tangible than usual, with the money being
transferred directly from the patient to the doctor.
But now they
have a new weapon in their arsenal: electronic funds transfer. Just
kidding. Actually they’ve had that for years. What is new is a
drug to help combat compulsive shopping. Forest Laboratories (motto:
“No, Mr. Gump doesn’t work here and please don’t call
again.”) has discovered that their antidepressant Celexa can help
people who shop till they drop then get up and shop some more. They
say that in tests, 80 percent of the people who took the drug
improved. What they didn’t say was how much time they spent going
from pharmacy to pharmacy searching out the best deal on their
All of this
gives shoppers very mixed signals. How are they to know whether to
shop more, shop less, go into therapy, or head to the mall to
complete their set of decorative hand-painted dinner plates
featuring dogs paying off their credit card bills? The answer, I’m
sure, will be in the next issue of Lucky.
Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while waiting for the doors of the store to open.
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