Home Shopping Has To Beat The Siren Song Of The Store

When the going gets tough, runs the wry motto, the tough go shopping. It's a concise way of saying that for Americans, amassing goods is a psychic activity--an outlet for exuberance or misery not unlike having a Friday-night martini. In fact, the urge to shop is a neurological response: Doctors consider it a key symptom of manic illness. Dear to the capitalist soul, shopping encompasses far more than the recurrent need to stock up on socks.

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