ESL Podcast Home ESL Podcast Store
HOME > BLOG > Shop Phobia – A Male Disease?

Shop Phobia – A Male Disease?

I want to warn you that much of this post is tongue-in-cheek, or ironic – some words are used in an opposite way to create humor. I think I learned this from Jeff. On to my story…

If we can believe the people from Lee, there’s an epidemic among men and many men don’t even know they have the disease. Lee is a well-known American company that’s been making jeans (informal pants made of denim, or cotton, often called blue jeans) since 1889.

Let me pause (stop briefly) for a moment to tell you about the -demic words – there are three of them. An epidemic is a disease that quickly affects a large number of people and then goes away. During the Middle Ages – from about 500-1500 – there were many epidemics in Europe. A pandemic is an epidemic that affects entire continents or even the whole world. The Black Death in Europe from 1348-1350 was a pandemic; it killed more than 30% of the people in Europe. Endemic, an adjective, describes a condition or disease that is found in a certain area or among a certain group of people. Malaria (a disease carried by mosquitos) is endemic in many areas with hot, wet climates (weather conditions).

According to Lee, growing numbers of men suffer from shop phobia. As you may know, a phobia is a strong irrational (not based on thought or reason) fear of something, like spiders or tall buildings. What they are saying is that many of us men are scared to death (extremely frightened) of shopping. Apparently (it seems that) there’s something about shopping that turns our legs to jelly (makes them shake because we’re frightened).

I discovered this recently when I stumbled onto (found by accident) a special web site created by the people at Lee. I was greeted by (welcomed or met by) the headline “Make no mistake, shop phobia is an epidemic.” And then I found a video in which Mike confesses (to say that one has done something wrong or that something exists that one is ashamed of) that he is shop phobic and has been all his life.

The truth is, I’ve been shop phobic all my life and didn’t know it until I came here and took this test. And now I feel fantastic. I still remember, to this day, when it started for me. It was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, twenty-five years ago (Black Friday is the busiest shopping day in the year, a good day to stay home).

Mike seems to feel better now that he has discovered the truth that he is shop phobic. And confessing it seemed to make him feel even better.

What about you? Are you shop phobic? If you’re not sure, you can take the test Mike talks about. If you’re brave (not afraid), you can have your wife or girl friend take it for you! Click on the “Get Tested” button if you’re taking the test yourself. If your girlfriend or wife is taking it for you, have her click on the “Find Out How Bad He’s Got It” button.

From what I see on the Internet, it’s possible that this epidemic – shop phobia – has been around (existed) for some time (a long time). In fact, I wonder if it might actually be a pandemic rather than an epidemic: I found articles about it from several different countries.

The thing that bothered me the most in what I found on the Internet was that many writers think this problem is endemic among men – that all men have it. But then I noticed something else – all the writers were women. I thought that explained it until I asked my wife, and she agreed with them! Now I’m not so sure because she’s always right.

What do you think?

~ Warren Ediger – ESL and TOEFL tutor/coach; creator of Successful English where you can find clear explanations and practical suggestions for improving your English.

Photo by Ilovesorbet used by under Creative Commons license.

14 Responses to “Shop Phobia – A Male Disease?”

  1. Peter Says:

    Lucy
    I watched the movie on the book
    The road i mean
    With due all respect,I didn’t find the picture very suspenseful
    The whole movie takes place on a long deserted road
    The whole movie tries to depict a phony ,unrealistic relationship between a traumatized father and his son
    And People’s hostile ,indifferent interaction with them
    The kicker is the ending
    I don’t wanna spoil it for u guys
    I don’t know about the book
    But I don’t recommend the movie production of the book

  2. Øyvor Says:

    Hi!

    I took the test for him, as I always use to say:
    My husband doesn`t know what he means, because his wife isn`t at home..
    and Yes, he was a shop phobia.
    Where`s the women`s test??

    Have a great day everyone=)

    Øyvor

  3. Julio Says:

    Whenever my wife and I are going together for a shopping I believe I have all symptoms of “shop phobia”, because I start sweating, winking out of control and scratching to relief a sudden itch on my body and hair. All these symptoms may increase according to my mental estimate about the growth of the bill to pay later. Curiously enough the mentioned symptoms might dissapear easily either if there is
    no purchase or this one is lower than expected at the end. Then the relief pain is a real pleasure and without taking any pill.
    Best regards from Spain,
    Julio.-

  4. emiliano Says:

    Warren, I don´t know anything about this phobic, may be our mothers did all shoppings when we are boys and we are accustomed to such a thing.
    Afterward if we get married our wifes take the place and always they think (and it´s true) men know nothing about clothes, colours, and what shirt fit with this pant or what is the best tie to wear when we dress a good suit….
    May be that´s the matter and usually men prefers to wear always a jean and a sweater for every occasion, so if we need to buy a new different garment from these we are really afraid and need our woman friend or wife to say us this is fine, this fits with that, this is not appropriate and of course we would be listening; You are a disaster about colours – what do you do without my help? – always with the same jean and with that ugly shirt that is falling in pieces…..
    Living so, who may have not phobic to go shopping?…thinking about that, yes I have phobic., I hate buying pants or shoes.
    I like to buy devices like ipods, tv., hifi equipments, computers, cd., dvd., blue ray, kindle, books, ………but cloths?….No, thank you.
    I would like to wear always the same uniform, one for summer and another for winter without having to think anything about suits, shirts, pans, or similar.
    Seeing you here it is always a pleasure Warren, thank you very much.
    emiliano

  5. Peter Says:

    Hi sis( Lucy)

    Nothing against you
    Please don’t take umbridge,another words, don’t take it personally
    I just call it as I see it
    You put in a good word for that book
    Very intriguing ,I m totally on it
    Reading that book is my new mission
    Good pass time for my leisure time , spare time if u will
    Thanks for the input sis
    You the best
    And Jeff and Warren are second best:)
    But ,Jeff is still my God . He is sth isn’t he:)
    Indeed eslpod is ahead of time
    U bend time with sth that belongs to future
    Ur progressive program comes from beautiful minds ; that is for sure. And I m not playing up to you sis
    It is a known ,hard fact
    Even if I praise you guys effusively :) still not enough

  6. Karl, Austria Says:

    I certainly do not have to take a test to know that I hate shopping. But I did not know it’s a men’s disease. Do you know a doctor who can cure it ? Would the health insurance pay for the medication ?

    Good thing, that women are not affected. So they keep the economy running with all their spending.

  7. Peter Says:

    Warren,
    To my best of knowledge,guys don’t have shop phobia but they definitly have girlfriend or wife shopoholic(wrong spelling) phobia
    I mean ,it scares bejeez out of them if their female partner,wife in particular, are pathological designer-products buyers!

    I ,for one,wouldn’t touch those type girls with a 10 feet pole

    How about you ?

  8. Peter Says:

    Designer__product buyers
    Sorry for the typo
    Please don’t judge me by what I put on the blog,since I do it using my iPhone for the most part.
    Tongue-in-cheek ,like it Warren
    My friend Warren!
    I m wondering if you could possibly allocate one of your post to punctuation
    I m telling you bro,It is the area of difficulty and problem with all the pursuers.
    I ,for one , must admit that punctuating holds me back every time I write an English test.
    I loose lots marks for that!
    When comes to English pinctuation is a teaser
    I believe ,all my friends on blog collectively back me up on that
    Thanks to Lucy for all the punctuation she applies on her works
    My friend ,
    Be a pal, and come to rescue!
    I Take sth new away every single time I poke around the blog
    Thanks, that u have been learning me the ropes for quite while
    My improvement has been palpable , yet need you with all of this

  9. Peter Says:

    Jeff,
    Listening to the latest English caffee, I noted that you pointed out a very interesting grammar exception
    You totally intrigue my curiosity!
    Answering the questions ,you mention that fish could be treated as accountable noun ,under circumstances.
    I really wanna know that exception.
    Since the beginning , everytime I asked this very question about fish that fish can be treated as countable noun? the answer was a definite no
    Please Jeff
    It is not the part that u should skimp( joking bro),Considering the fact that knowing these exceptions give us the edge
    Thanks bro for the exceptional, classy, unconventional phenomenon you named Eslpod
    You are the best !!man
    You always have my awe-inspiring
    I envy you
    U have a beautiful mind
    I m not playing up to you
    Just stating the fact!

  10. Peter Says:

    Although ,the world is full of suffering , it is also full of overcoming of it
    So
    No worries

  11. Peter Says:

    Jeff,
    Finally ,I got the exact meaning of “You want a piece of me.”
    God knows how many times I heard the expression
    But, I couldnt make a tail and a head of it ,I an talking about the exact concept of it.
    I could guess from the context
    Now , I know
    Jeff hope with All my gibberish , u eventually won’t cone out and say ” you want a piece of me.”:))))(

  12. Peter Says:

    I don’t know if I should complain that roses have thrones or should rejoice that thrones have roses!

    Dear Eslpod members !

    I don’t know that We must complain that English language is so broad that we, as students, never get to get a hang of it,or we must be happy that at the end of the day we get to learn a global language.

  13. Sanaz Says:

    Dear Warren,
    I think shop phobia is endemic among all men. If men, themselves, are not aware of this disease, all their wives know about it.
    The photo you’ve put for this article is so intresting for me because the two men in the photo, remind me the facial expression of the men of my family including my husband, my father, and ny brother, when they are obliged to accompany me and my mum in shopping.
    It is another possibility that men have money-spending phobia instead of shop phobia!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks, good post!

  14. Christoph Hammann Says:

    Hi Warren,

    I just did that test provided by the Lee Company and noticed one thing: One can tell by the question, which answer it takes to get a specific result (in my case: 100% shop phobic, of course). So, since this test can be manipulated quite easily, I do not regard it as very informative. However, the topic in general might be of some relevance with respect to retail stores, especially since the internet has made armchair shopping so simple.

    Regards

    Christoph