Travel Theme: Merchandise

“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.”
― Emile Gauvreau

Then. I. Jumped.

Life is simple now. I buy little recycled plastic bottle flowers made by local school kids to fund their school projects.


More merchandise ahead. Keep reading.

Confessions of an Expat Shopaholic

Thank God we’re living in a country where the sky’s the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.  ~Joan Rivers

What if we don’t live in a country where the sky’s the limit, where the convenience of consumerism, e-commerce, marketing tactics, and the psychology of shopping are distant dreams of a past life? I’ve returned to the states for two weeks with a list of items to buy that are impossible to find in Nicaragua. My brother has graciously, and a little begrudgingly, offered to take me shopping today…January 2nd, a day renowned for its sales after Christmas.

Psychologists have defined six universal mental rules of thumb that are evident in shoppers. The Psychology of Shopping  The one my brother doesn’t understand is Scarcity, which is understandable because unless one lives abroad in a third world country, scarcity is an alien concept. 

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 8.07.13 AMLiving in Nicaragua, I believe that less is more. We consume less with the added bonus of more creativity. Live and Learn Abroad to Boost Creativity  Yet, there are certain products no matter how creative we are, we cannot reproduce. For example: Bayer Aspirin, Motrin, acrylic paints in small craft bottles, a Norelco hair clipper, and an Otterbox cover for my iPhone.

The psychological reasoning behind scarcity makes sense to me. I do place more value on those things which are scarce or non-existent in Nicaragua. When I was living in the states, I was never a shopaholic. Everything was readily available through internet clicks, and  short trips to the mall or department stores less than 5 miles from my house. I’ve never been a compulsive or impulsive buyer, but returning to the states and seeing the abundance of ‘things’ we have here, overwhelms me with an irresistible urge to shop.

I’ve mapped my itinerary, eaten a hearty breakfast, and promised my brother that if he takes me shopping, I’ll buy him lunch. My list has 22 specific items, yet I have a tendency to get side-tracked in the world of accessible consumerism. Wish me luck because I’m going to need it!

P.S. I love my brother and sister-in-law, especially for indulging my expat shopaholic tendencies! Thank you from the bottom of my expat shopaholic heart.