It's no secret that teenage girls love to shop. Trips to the mall to find that perfect dress or take advantage of a blow-out sale are no oddity among teenage girls and their friends; but what happens when those shopping trips become a little too...... Read Full Episode Summary »
On this episode of True Life, we follow Gabby and Ali as they try to overcome serious shopping addictions.
It's no secret that teenage girls love to shop. Trips to the mall to find that perfect dress or take advantage of a blow-out sale are no oddity among teenage girls and their friends; but what happens when those shopping trips become a little too frequent? For Gabby and Ali, shopping has become so addicting that they are no longer able to lead healthy lives. For these girls, shopping has gone far beyond a form of retail therapy-it is their only way of life.
Gabby is eighteen years old from Queens, NY, and her life is all about what she wears. Her closet is so stuffed with clothes that she can barely see what is in it-but she does manage to find a pair of unworn designer jeans she bought for three hundred dollars with the tags still on. Gabby's mom has multiple sclerosis, so since she has always been unable to make trips to the mall with her daughter, Gabby starting using her parents' credit cards from a very young age. Now, years later, her so called "normal" use of her parent's plastic has turned compulsive, and as a result, she has put her family in about ten thousand dollars worth of debt. In order to support her shopping addiction and pay her bills, Gabby works two jobs and lives from pay check to pay check. Every two weeks simply means more money that she can spend on new clothes and accessories-and for Gabby, that means every last penny. Gabby's father, frustrated with what Gabby has done to the family, demands that Gabby see a therapist, but Gabby refuses to admit she has a problem. And besides, why would she waste a trip into Manhattan to see a therapist when she could be shopping on Canal Street? Things start to look up when Gabby finally decides she wants to start saving money. However, deciding to save money for breast implants is probably not the best solution for curing her compulsive spending habits. Will Gabby ever be able to pay her parents back for the enormous debt she has caused them? And will Gabby ever be able to remove herself from the ruthless cycle of making more money just so that she can spend more money?
Ali is nineteen years old from Columbus, Ohio, and she shops whenever she can-whether or not she has the money. She works hard on her image and figures if she keeps it up she will eventually live up to the likes of Paris Hilton or other pop divas and finally start believing in herself. Ali works the door at a strip club, and unlike Gabby who has to wait two weeks for her next cash flow, Ali bypasses the anxiety about waiting for a paycheck by taking home a nightly wad of cash. However, despite this constant flow of money, Ali still manages to run out of money, and in order to satisfy her "shopping fixes," her boyfriend, Kyle, ends up footing the bill. As a result of her constant need to shop, Ali has let her bills accumulate for the past 4 months-which means a debt accumulation of almost eight thousand dollars. While Ali acknowledges she should pay off her debt, the high she gets after a shopping spree makes it hard for her to change her behavior. Ali starts going to Debtors Anonymous meetings twice a week, and while she would like to think she is changing her behavior, she doubts if she really is-especially after she spends every last penny when shopping for her birthday. Eventually, Rent-A-Center comes and removes all her bedroom furniture which Ali never paid for, leaving Ali's room a cluttered mess of clothes. Despite this reality check, Ali still continues to shop and rack up her debt- now totally almost 15,000 dollars. Will Ali ever realize life is not just about the shopping and purchasing? And will she ever be able to find the money and confidence she needs to get the intensive therapy she recognizes she needs to get her life back on track?
Watch True Life: I'm a Compulsive Shopper to find out what happens to these two girls when they literally shop till they drop.