My Shopping Addiction

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
My Shopping Addiction TV Poster Image
Voyeuristic look at troubled folks with buying compulsions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The voyeuristic series highlights some of the symptoms of a shopping addiction, the reasons behind the behavior, and some of the ways therapists attempt to help sufferers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shopping addicts are male, female, and from all walks of life. The therapists seem committed to helping people.

Violence

Addicts often react angrily to interventions, but are not violent.

Sex

One episode features photographs of a partially-dressed person, but no nudity is visible.

Language

Words like "hell" are audible; curses like "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped.

Consumerism

Consumer brands like Apple and 7-up are sometimes partially visible; high-end brands like Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Hermes, Betsy Johnson, and other designers are discussed and/or are clearly visible. Makes of expensive cars like Range Rover are visible. Charitable organizations like Dress for Success are sometimes featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Addicts drink wine during shopping trips and during casual meetings with friends.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Shopping Addiction features people receiving professional help -- and often reacting angrily -- to deal with their destructive shopping behaviors. Cursing is regular and mostly bleeped ("s--t," "f--k"). Expect some some drinking (mostly wine), and lots of references and images of high-end labels like Gucci, Armani, and Chanel.

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What's the story?

MY SHOPPING ADDICTION is a reality series featuring people who are taking steps towards beating their shopping compulsions. The addicts, who range from folks who regularly spend thousands of dollars on high-end clothes and shoes, to people that routinely buying large quantities of a single item at a dollar store, are at a point where they are out of touch with their finances and are unable to see how their habits are impacting their relationships with friends and family. With the guidance of clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula and compulsion specialist Dr. David Tolin, they participate in a week's worth of exercises designed to help them recognize that they have a problem, and think about what they have to do to beat it. They also note some of the things that are fueling their addiction. Brief follow ups about each addicts' progress after the week is over are offered at the end of the show.

Is it any good?

The series showcases some of the behaviors that serve as indicators of a shopping addiction, which include habits like going on routine over-the-top shopping trips for unnecessary items, being unable to pay basic living expenses, excessive borrowing, hiding purchases, and hoarding. While it briefly underscores how extreme shopping, like many other addictions, is often used to cope with deeper psychological issues, most of the show's focus is on the treatment exercises and the addicts' reaction to them.  

The folks featured here come across as narcissistic, especially when they react to being asked about paying off their debts or to being given sound financial guidance. Although some of this is expected, it can be a little frustrating to watch. But there are some lessons to be learned here, especially when it comes to understanding the very real and long-term consequences that come from spending money for the wrong reasons.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the reasons people become addicted to certain behaviors. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is known to be physically destructive, but when does an ordinary activity like shopping actually become a problem?

  • What role does advertising play in fostering bad shopping habits? What can parents do to help their kids develop better shopping habits?

TV details

For kids who love reality shows

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