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  • Aliyah from Eleven

Confessions of a Shopeeholic

I took a quick glance at my seemingly unending to-do list; the one I had conveniently positioned at the top right-hand corner of my laptop desktop, and let out an involuntary sigh. My eyes wandered to the row of trees right outside the window of my stifling room in Tamarind hall, allowing nature to give me a moment of temporary bliss. I was exhausted. I felt as though I had somehow been robbed of the agency I had over my own life – a result of solely being fixated on school for several weeks, I guess. So I did what I knew would immediately spark some joy and excitement in these painfully mundane moments and make me feel alive.

I whipped my phone out and immediately browsed through Shopee. Yes, I am a self-declared Shopeeholic. It’s difficult to rationalise the immense comfort I get from browsing through this mobile app – I guess I love a cheap thrill and the fact that it’s a marketplace that appears to have everything and anything. I could easily spend hours browsing through the website, looking endlessly at the popular and trending pages; of the multifarious categories of items they offer. To me, the act of mindless scrolling gives me a reprieve of sorts; allowing my mind to wander for a while and forget about the stresses of everyday life. I’ve also realised that sometimes, I don’t go on Shopee to find what I need, I let Shopee tell me what I need – which I am very aware makes me a loyal slave to capitalism.

But nothing quite triumphs over the serotonin boost I get when I press “Place Order” and check out of my Shopee cart. I don’t know whether it’s the act of ordering the items itself – asserting some sort of control I have over my own life – or simply having something to look forward to? There’s an unexplainable thrill to placing orders online– you know it’s coming, but you’re not that sure when; the anticipation of waiting and then finally receiving it seems like a wholly rewarding process. So I mean, if it makes me happy and relieves some stress, this Shopee addiction isn’t really a problem right?

… Wrong. After spending two weeks straight living in my university hall, I came home to… seven Shopee packages in my room. Seven. It was quite frankly an alarming sight, even though I knew at the back of my mind that I had been continually buying things on Shopee just to feel something amid the particularly taxing weeks of the academic semester. First I felt too excited to open the packages to do any sort of self-reflection – but as I sat crossed-legged on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by opened boxes and plastic wrappers, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of guilt.

Did I really need all these things? Or did I just buy them to fill in some sort of imaginary void?

And I guess I knew the answer to that question then, even though I wasn’t ready to confront it yet. My dilemma with Shopee lies in the fact that it just makes me so irrationally happy – and I know for a fact that I am not the only one who finds immense joy in retail therapy. I mean, after a really stressful and tumultuous week, who wouldn’t want to treat themselves?

But what I’ve come to finally understand is that moderation is key. Perhaps my addiction with Shopee is simply an unhealthy coping mechanism I’ve become accustomed to; a desperate attempt at avoiding other dire issues in my life. But it shouldn’t be a flaw I readily accept about myself. In fact, even writing this article is an indirect way of telling myself that I need to do better and hold myself accountable for my own impulse decisions.

I once read that a person shouldn’t act the same way when they’re rewarding themselves or when they’re in difficult situations. For example, if having your favourite pasta is a way you like to reward yourself for accomplishing something, you should avoid eating that pasta when you’re stressed out. This helps with setting boundaries with yourself – making sure that your response to pain and pleasure don’t overlap.

I found this piece of advice particularly insightful and it made a lot of sense to me. I realised that I buy things on Shopee both as a reward for myself and also as a form of comfort and consolation. The absence of self-boundaries and a weak resolve has, unfortunately, cost me a lot (literally), so I shall do my best to limit my Shopee purchases and even the time I spend on the app.

Of course, I still absolutely adore Shopee and all it has to offer, but for now… I am willing to take a break from this silly little app and focus on dealing with my stress in a healthier and more budget-friendly way.


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