American’s love to shop. That is no secret. Thanks to e-commerce, shopping has become easier than ever before. Thanks to the advent of YouTube, people can do show off their “hauls” of shopping and carefully unpack all the items that they have bought. It might seem fun and harmless but it has a variety of implications

It’s Bad for the Environment

Excessive shopping is terrible for the environment. 88 million tons of clothing ends up in landfills every year. This number has grown in the age of “fast fashion” where clothing is designed, produced and sold to consumers in as little as 3 weeks. The clothing is often of poor quality and is discarded as fast as it was purchased and usually ends up in a landfill. For e-commerce, there is a problem with the packaging. The plastic and cardboard often overwhelm recycling systems and simply end up in the landfill anyway.

It’s Bad for the Pocketbook

Shopping costs money (obviously) and Americans often rack up credit card debt, especially on store cards to finance their shopping addiction. This creates bad long-term financial prospects, especially with a nation with such a low savings rate as we have in the United States.

It’s Bad for the Shopper

Like many things, shopping creates a dopamine loop in our brains. Buying things feels good. Marketing in stores and websites does a tremendous job of hyping up things like “retail therapy.” Why deal with the problems in your life when you can buy a new shirt, another figurine, or a new purse. It creates a dopamine hit every time you do and that dopamine gets addicting. It’s like doing cocaine but with better bags.

America has a shopping problem and it’s not doing us any good. Learn more about the addiction with this helpful video the Atlantic: