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New Social Disease
October 20, 2006 16:14

Shopomania has come to Russia. Uncontrollable passion for shopping brought to ruin many Europeans and Americans. Now it’s our turn. Even experienced foreigners get a shock when they see the way some Russians behave in shops. Shopomania went pear-shaped in our country. Not only oligarchs’ wives but also common people suffer from this new social disease: they manage to leave incredible sums of money in shops and widespread consumer credits tempt them to waste more and more. The vast majority of people realize that they are sick only at the moment of payoff, but sometimes it may be too late.

After the Iron Curtain fall Russian citizens, tired of permanent shortage of goods, turned to be fiercer shopaholics than foreigners. Over 70% of Russians confessed that they enjoyed the very process of shopping.

 Oniomania has plenty of reasons. People deprived of something in the childhood are the first victims. The most part of shopaholics are people with serious complexes, thinking that they don’t meet the modern life standards. These days glamour ideology prevails in the society, which makes a person earn money in order to spend all it on houses, cars or expensive clothes. Russia is a country of extremes. During shop-tours abroad Russian people behave like barbarians.

Another reason of oniomania is great amount of commercials and advertisements. Billboards, beautiful pictures of basically useless products drive Russians crazy. While shopping they can forget about anything even their children. Shopaholics get so absorbed with new things that they can easily lose their kids, who come to the cashier’s fund and start crying.

 The interesting fact is that Russian female students spend about 20 percent of their salary on cosmetics and very often these are high-class products. Sometimes this kind of passion may even destroy lives or relationships as the vast majority of Russian men can’t understand why a young beautiful girl should waste money on a cream priced at 900 rubles (33 dollars).

Gradually Russians are getting familiar with customer credits and that is when Russian inclination to khalyava shows itself: having crossed the threshold of a store shopaholics completely forget that the credit must be paid off.

 Nevertheless, oniomania overcame not only the fair sex but lots of men, too, and their number is increasing. About 5-7 years ago we couldn’t speak of this phenomenon, as there were no examples, but the current situation is quite different. Generally men are addicted to purchasing cars, books, technical equipment and its constituents. In some forms of oniomania men have surpassed women. According to psychologists, nearly every tenth Russian person suffer from so-called “food oniomania”, because they buy more than can eat.

Should one take this phenomenon as a disease? Scientists note: craft of onimania lies in the fact that Russian people don’t consider it to be a disease. People reject vigorously the opportunity of going to a specialist. And if there is no demand, than there is no supply, and as the result – no psychotherapists specializing in this sphere. However, any person is able to get over the addiction; success is very often directly connected with a shopaholic’s capability to give a negative answer to the question: do I really need this thing?


Olga Pletneva


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