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Footwear News featured Lubin Professor Lynn Kahle in "How Retail Therapy Can Help You Get Through a Crisis"


Footwear News featured Lubin Professor Lynn Kahle in "How Retail Therapy Can Help You Get Through a Crisis"

Professor Lynn Kahle, PhD, a professor of consumer psychology and visiting professor at Pace University, and emeritus professor at University of Oregon, told FN people can overdo any kind of activity, from shopping to gambling.

For example, most people are able to gamble reasonably for recreational purposes, according to Kahle, but he said 5% get carried away and use money they don’t really have to spend. The same, he explained, can be said for shopping.

“A lot of the therapeutic benefit of retailing is from the shopping part as opposed to the buying part,” Kahle said

As noted above, purchasing a larger quantity of goods is unlikely to result in increased happiness on the part of the consumer — just clicking through a retailer’s online site can already help lift your spirits, but if even if you do end up buying something, realize that you can get the mood boost without breaking the bank.
Online Versus In-Store Retail Therapy

While retail therapy might conjure up images in your head of a big shopping spree at the mall, in-store shopping just isn’t possible for many at the moment, given the current stay-at-home orders impacting the majority of Americans. For that reason, many are ditching their physical carts for virtual ones, at least for the time being.

However, there is some good news when it comes to online versus in-store shopping. When in store, there are others around us buying, which can cause a sort of social contagion affect, said Dr. Kahle. Meanwhile, there is a more isolated experience when it comes to e-commerce.

“The social pressure you get on Amazon is less than you would experience in Walmart,” he noted.

Due to this lessened social pressure, shoppers may be less likely to overdo it when they’re on the internet versus shopping brick-and-mortar. This, in turn, may make e-commerce buying a more wallet-friendly options.

Nonetheless, not everyone may feel the need to tighten their purse strings amid the current crisis. Although over-buying can throw those who’ve been furloughed or laid off into debt, other people who are still employed and continuing to receive their scheduled pay may find themselves with some extra cash. After all, there are certain expenses that have been lessened due to the crisis, such as costs associated with commuting, going out to eat or entertainment like sporting events, movie tickets and concerts.

Still, even those who are receiving full pay might be in danger of going over their budgets, Kahle cautions.

“Some people are good at managing their budget and some aren’t,” said Kahle. “There’s always a danger of someone getting carried away.”

Read the full Footwear News article.