Quarantine Online Shopping



With the outbreak of COVID-19, many have taken action… or the lack thereof. As most know, the outside world is dangerous because of the spread of the virus so a great  alternative to shopping in person is online shopping. With this new technology, people can now shop from the comfort of their own homes. However, as with all businesses, there is always a downside.


Businesses use a simple trick to lure people into buying more. This trick is a chemical called dopamine. According to WebMD, A trusted public health corporation rooted all the way back to 1998,“Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus and find things interesting.” In essence, dopamine is produced in your brain to reward a person for doing beneficial deeds to oneself.


Whenever someone buys or purchases an item from a store, be it in person or, online a massive amount of dopamine is released, thus making shopping pleasurable and even addictive.  The basics of a good shopping spree for companies is to maximize dopamine releases. Like drugs, a person can become addicted to spending, leading to irrational purchases, or in other words, more money for companies. While malls and shopping centers do a good job with its multitude of stores to maximize dopamine output from multiple angles, there is a glaring problem in that system:all the shopping is mostly done in an hour or so. However, most people realize the copious amount of money they spent and abandon their spree. A “ I spent too much money here on one trip” as most people would say, because of this, they leave the shopping center. As a result, the dopamine addiction they were building up through the spree is lost. This problem is non-existent in online shopping for a particular reason- shipping. Shipping on average for most products takes 1-2 weeks to arrive which is crucial for online shopping for two reasons. The first of these reasons stems from the “in one go” fiasco that is malls. Because there are two very separate dopamine releases- the initial purchase and the arrival of the package. The two times that are experienced look completely separate for most people, meaning the amount they think they spent in one go is lost at the second dopamine release from the package’s arrival. This second dopamine release is the second reason mentioned before. Because this second dopamine release occurs so late, people impulsively spend money, never fully realising the money already spent. This spending without restraint makes online shopping more dangerous than public shopping.


Shopping is a risky game of reward and loss so always aim to spend less. Spending pitfalls await in stores and online so be aware of your cart.


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