I never completely came to grips with a quote in one of my favourite dramas, The Contender, “Guilty, but not responsible” as it relates to shopping messages, until I saw this sign – captured in Wellington the other day:
That sentiment – Nothing you need, but everything you want — seems to sum up “guilty but not responsible”. I’ve long held that shopaholics and overspenders are responsible for their own behaviour. But you can’t look at one person’s shopping habits, healthy or not, in a vacuum. We shop within a certain context… which includes the cultural, social, emotional, financial and broader economic forces that are at play.
And I’d add to that, marketing forces. The stores are not to blame for our overspending – they are not responsible. We are responsible.
But it doesn’t mean they’re not guilty.