“Oooh!” I exclaim, slowly strolling through the racks of REI, “ I could really use a new pair of Patagonia baggies shorts.” Striding to the register triumphantly holding my vibrant new shorts, I proudly punch in my membership number and finish off my purchase in a matter of seconds. Strutting out of the doors, my mind slowly comes down to Earth, no longer buoyed by the wave of happiness that came with my purchase. Already, I am wondering what I can purchase next.
This anecdote sheds light on the most detrimental aspect of teen spending: the craving for more that comes after a purchase.
Much like a social media addiction, teen spending comes with some highs and plenty of lows. Similar to posting a picture, after a purchase, the feelings of happiness and gratification slowly disappear into a hole that can only be filled with another purchase. This leads to a never-ending loop of pleasure and sadness. Teen spending has always been an issue; monetary maturity comes with age for everyone. However, recently, the issue has been exacerbated by the advent of faster, easier ways of spending, such as Apple Pay, Instacart, Amazon, and many other banking services. These services disconnect the wallet even more from the transaction, creating a system in which transactions are less noteworthy. The path to purchase is easier than ever, trapping teenagers into yet another addiction cycle.