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Shopaholic dies, buried beneath her purchases. Take this test to see if you're a compulsive shopper

Even Hollywood can't top this sad cautionary tale. A woman in Britain was found dead in her home, perIsla fischer confessions of a shopaholic Shopaholic dies, buried beneath her purchases. the Daily Mail via Jezebel, buried under a pile of suitcases. The poor hoarder and compulsive shopper, Joan Cunnane, 77, owned 300 scarves and filled her garage and her car with many of her unopened purchases. Per, the paper:

"An expert search team and environmental health officers were also called in to help and on Wednesday evening her body was finally found buried under the suitcases.

The house was stacked with brand-new umbrellas, candles, ornaments, trinkets, clothes and electrical items, many of them unopened, as well as piles of videotapes."

According to, if  you have three or more of the following symptoms -- or exhibited the behavior described -- you may have a compulsive shopping problem:

  • Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious or lonely
  • Having arguments with others about your shopping habits
  • Feeling lost without credit cards -- actually going into withdrawal without them
  • Buying items on credit, rather than with cash
  • Describing a rush or a feeling of euphoria with spending
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed or embarrassed after a spending spree
  • Lying about how much money was spent or owning up to buying something, but lying about how much it actually cost
  • Thinking obsessively about money
  • Spending a lot of time juggling accounts or bills to accommodate spending

-- Monica Corcoran

Photo: Isla Fisher in the upcoming film, "Confessions of a Shopaholic." Credit: Touchstone Pictures. 

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This sad story is nothing to do with shopping. The circumstances indicate that she suffered from a form of Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder, a disabling psychological problem that is to with acquisition, fear of loss, perfectionism, and a self-defeating craving for order and completeness. To call her a shopaholic makes her sound self-indulgent and trivialises her death. Her 300 scarves illustrates the tendency to see things as part of a collection or 'set', a common symptom. It is far removed from the conspicuous consumption that your picture illustrates.

Oh damn, JR just schooled Monica Corcoran.

Hoarding doesn't have much to do with shopping. There is a difference between compulsive shopping, and compulsive hoarding. A compulsive shopper will buy a great many things they do not require, and will frequently re-sell them, or give them away. A hoarder will keep everything they aquire, never throwing out anything, including old newspapers, out of date food, broken furniture and eletricals etc.

And the list - don't worry too much, you could have all of the first five points, without being a compulsive shopper. The key points are actually:
Do you frequently buy things that you do not need, or are more expensive than fit your budget.
Does your shopping habit cause you financial difficulty?
Do you find yourself with a growing stock of unused or infrequently used items or duplicates?
Do you buy things you don't like or really want simply because they are on special, or a 'good deal'?


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