Why Do You Hate Shopping / Love Shopping? Blame Your Parents

love shopping or hate shopping

Why do people hate shopping and others love it? The answer lies with your parents. It’s all to do with genealogy.


Have you ever wondered why you love shopping so much? Are you hooked on spending money all the time? Are you completely addicted to shopping? (If you are addicted, read that link, it will help a lot).

Or maybe you’re the opposite.

Maybe you hate shopping and hate spending money.

Either way, science tells us that evolutionary biology is the cause of your shopping habits.


…So this is why I used to cry when I spent money… 

I personally used to hate shopping.

When I was a little kid I once cried for two hours because I’d spent $60 on the wrong video game.

True story.

Then later, as an adult, I used to feel terribly guilty spending money rather than giving it all away to friends or charities. (Well, I am slightly obsessed with Loving Kindness)

My shopping habits were never healthy. I always it depressing to spend money, even relatively small amounts.

But now I understand my money and shopping problem.



Now we know why people love or hate shopping. It’s all about evolutionary biology.

Evolutionary biology is the study of the origins and evolution of species. It’s a fascinating field of science that is usually used to understand genetics, molecular biology, and evolution.

But don’t sweat. You definitely don’t need a masters degree in biology to understand what I’m about to say.

Personally I’m the last thing from a scientist, being an artistic spiritualist. But even with my limited knowledge, it is quite easy to understand how evolutionary biology affects your shopping habits.


5 Ways Evolutionary Biology Makes You Love Or Hate Shopping


1. Pattern recognition is essential to mankind. And it can make you love or hate shopping and money.

As human being we have evolved to have very advanced pattern-recognition skills. Take a look at this fantastic article on Visual Thinking Magic. It explains how humans evolved to be masters at pattern recognition.

Compared to most Earth-based species, we humans have exceptional pattern recognition abilities. And those abilities are at play when we go shopping.

Have you ever noticed that when you go shopping you have certain stores you love and other stores you hate?

If so, consider the patterns and the décor of the area you’re shopping in.

If you’re shopping in a city centre full of high rise buildings and flashy advertisements, for instance, you might feel stressed, because your mind has learnt to associate tall buildings and flashing lights with tension.

On the other hand, you might love shopping in cozy little shops off the main strip.

Charity stores, for instance, are often quiet, friendly, and subdued. Your mind picks up on these patterns and says “I’ve been here before. It was good last time”. That”s one reason I personally love to bargain hunt in charity stores.

Pattern recognition is always at play.

When you find yourself loving shopping or hating shopping, ask: “Is my mind picking up on something here that I dislike?” You may find there’s a pattern at play.


2. Do you love some stores and hate others? Tribalism is the cause.

Tribalism is a huge part of human evolution (this excellent article on Scientific American explains more).

As humans, we’ve come to develop a habit of sticking with the people who are similar to us and going against people who are different (this is part of the reason for discrimination).

The groups we hang with inform us of who we are. They’re actually one way that we develop a sense of “self” and personality.

That tribalism is at play every time you visit a store.

When shopping, your mind is constantly asking, “Is this store like me? Does this store reflect me? Do I fit in here?

Smart store owners will take advantage of tribalism. They’ll make their stores reflect the type of people they want to attract. That way, when you visit a store you’ll think, “These guys are like me. I trust them. I’m happy to spend money here.”

Next time you go shopping ask yourself: what stores do I feel I belong in, and what does that say about me?

  1. 3. Sex and food are the biggest marketing forces in the world, because life

It goes without saying that sex and food are absolutely essential aspects of evolutionary biology.

For millions of years, as we’ve developed as a species, we’ve sought out food and sex, for survival and reproduction. And our minds are still utterly hooked on those things.

Marketing executives take advantage of food and sex constantly. Heck, even adverts for hamburgers show sexy people eating them.

Of course, even though we desire lovely food and sex some of us are put off by those things. Many people are offended by the often offensive over-sexualisation of adverts. And while we crave yummy food we all know the consequences.

The ubiquitous nature of sex and food in stores can make you both love shopping and hate shopping.


4. Forced socialism might make you love shopping or hate it

Right now there’s a heated debate taking place in the science community about whether or not prosocial behaviour is the cause of natural selection.

Most human being have ingrained pro-social habits, but the naysayers argue that prosocial behavior is maladaptive since it favours a wider gene pool over any one individual’s specific genes.

This prosocial behaviour means that you’re more likely to favour brands and shops that your social group approve of.

Of course this can be a two way street. Because, on the one hand, you will feel great visiting stores that your friends love. But you hate it when you have to go to stores that normally “you wouldn’t be seen dead in”.


We’ve all learnt these traits from evolutionary biology. And whether you love shopping or hate shopping, every time you go to a store these factors are at play.

What do you think about this?

Leave a comment.