Single black female addicted to retail. When we hear the infamous line from rapper Kanye West, Chanel and Christian Louboutin aficionados come to mind. We think of the girls who regularly spend their hard-earned paychecks (and some of their savings) on designer shoes that look like something they could have picked up at DSW. They are so obsessed with high-end labels that they’ll buy anything from the brand no matter how expensive the price or ugly the design. But what about women who are just as addicted to mass retailers?

Target, Asos, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and H&M boast their fair share of addicts who are as hooked to shopping at retail stores as your most aggressive Louis Vuitton label whore. Still, the idea of a mass retail label addict is a new and relatively undiscovered phenomenon.

The idea that women become obsessed with the thrill of shopping and buying something new is so commonplace it’s to be expected. And it makes perfect sense that luxury label whores are seduced by the allure of acquiring an exclusive, coveted designer piece. But the mass retail label addict is harder to understand. Why be addicted to something so easily attained?

After studying several friends who have the affliction, namely Asos and Urban Outfitters’ addicts, I realized affordability is exactly the problem. Because the pieces are relatively cheap, mass retail label whores don’t feel as guilty. Some don’t even view their habit as a predicament—and that’s the worst kind of addiction to have.

Since the first step is admitting there’s a problem, here are five ways to know you are a mass retail label addict:

1. If you know every product that is currently available by memory. And the date the store receives a new shipment. And the sale schedule.

2. If the sales associates (yes, plural) know you by name.

3. If you monopolize the store’s every form of contact from their email list to Facebook page to Twitter timeline, which you obsessively stalk.

4. If every time you make money, whether through paychecks, birthday gifts or tax refunds, you spend it at the retailer—even when the rent and cable bill is way past due.

5. If you become increasingly secretive about your purchases i.e. shopping without your girls, lying to strangers who ask where you got your latest piece from and worst of all, hiding new items from your boyfriend, BFF and relatives, especially after they’ve called you out on your addiction.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Do you view mass retail label whoredom as a problem? Are shopping addictions acceptable if the price tag is low?

-Jessica C. Andrews

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