Lonely People Who Turn to Shopping Become Lonelier, Study Says

October 29, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. satisfy [SAT-is-fahy ] (v.) – to feel pleased or contented
Example: Receiving an expensive gift for her birthday satisfied her expectations.

2. vicious cycle[VISH-uh s SAHY-kuh l] (n. phrase) – the condition in which a problem results in another problem
Example: The company was trapped in a vicious cycle, in which low sales led to bankruptcy.

3. down [doun] (adj.) – being low in spirit; depressed
Example: He felt so down after his pet dog died.

4. materialism [muh-TEER-ee-uh-liz-uh m] (n.) – a strong desire to acquire material things
ExampleMaterialism has urged her to acquire many unnecessary properties.

5. delude [dih-LOOD] (v.) – to be dishonest with someone
Example: The retailer lost many customers after news about him deluding a client came out.


Read the text below.
A new study revealed that shopping during depressing times may make a person more susceptible to materialism and loneliness.

Professor Rik Pieters of Tilburg University in the Netherlands explored the links between shopping, materialism, and loneliness through a long-term survey involving 2500 consumers.

The survey revealed that no matter how much a person earns, loneliness, shopping, and materialism are directly linked to each other. It also claimed that shopping is a vicious cycle. The more materialistic a person is, the lonelier he or she gets. But the lonelier a person gets, the more he or she becomes materialistic.

The researcher was also able to identify three different types of shoppers. The first type is the shopper who enjoys the shopping experience and the possession of nice things to feel better when down.

On the other hand, the second type of shopper buys new things to compete with others in order to be viewed as more successful. The third type is a person who thinks shopping satisfies his or her desires for comfort and luxury. These shoppers buy things because doing so makes them happy and fills the emptiness they experience.

Although materialism may delude people at one point, Pieters said that it may also have a positive effect. People who are capable of buying luxury items appear more contented and happier than others, thus they are considered more pleasant to be with. After all, it is not materialism that is problematic but the reason behind materialism itself.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think people shop whenever they feel sad?
·         Among the three types of shoppers in the article, which do you think is the worst? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Aside from shopping, how else can people cope with sadness?
·         What do you think are the other disadvantages of shopping when one is lonely? Please explain your answer/s.


October 29, 2013