A sickness perhaps, but not a hobby

I was recently speaking to a friend about hobbies, and she claimed that her hobby was shopping.  When I expressed my doubts that shopping is a legitimate hobby, she attempted to equate it to poker, golf and reading (three of my hobbies), claiming that the pleasure she derives from shopping is no different than the joy that I feel after finishing a good book, making a long putt or winning a hand of poker by means of a well-timed bluff. I asked my friend if she would have as much fun if she were shopping without making any purchases. “What if you went to the mall without your wallet? Still fun?”

She found the idea ludicrous. “That’s not shopping. It’s just looking.”

Based upon this position, I pointed out to my friend that it isn’t the act of shopping that she enjoys, but the acquisition of material goods. If my friend found satisfaction in touring the mall, examining the latest merchandise, admiring the elegance of its design, and grabbing a cup of coffee, then I might be willing to consider shopping a hobby.

But as with most people who claim to enjoy shopping, my friend actually gains pleasure through the increase in the size of her wardrobe and the addition of material possessions. It's not the act of shopping that she requires, but the point of purchase.

Remove the purchase and shopping is no longer fun. Her words. Not mine.

In my mind, this invalidates my friend's claim that shopping is a hobby. It might make her feel better to think of her materialism as a hobby, but in my mind, it’s more akin to a sickness than anything else.