Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: If you are feeling down, just reach for your credit card - and things will be a whole lot better.

That is the thinking behind retail therapy, the idea that a spending spree is the best way of improving the mood.

City Talk took to the streets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah to learn more about the shopping habits of residents.

Iranian electrician Ismaiel Pour Ghoorban, 28, said he is not impressed with the idea of retail therapy. "I know people who go out to buy stuff to feel better about themselves but I don't do that personally, I just go shopping when I need something specific," he said.

Reycelyn Regio, 27, a Filipina accountant, said she goes shopping in Dubai with her sister and brother once or twice a week.

"It's an important time in which I can relieve some stress from work; it's like rewarding myself after a long hard month of work," she said. "I like to buy electronic gadgets mainly, but I'm not just after short-term satisfaction, I like to spend my hard-earned cash on quality products which will last a while."

Secretary Joy Regio, 24, who is also from the Philippines, said shopping was "a very important activity" and made her "feel good".

"I like to buy clothes and shoes but sometimes I also just like to go window-shopping for relaxation, but it's something I prefer to do in a group rather than on my own."

Public relations officer Ayman Hashem, 25, Egypt, said shopping for designer clothes and the latest perfumes makes him feel better.

"Wearing something new or putting on good quality cologne makes me feel fresh and cheerful. Of course there are different ways for a person to overcome a bad mood. Shopping for me is just one of the many ways to help change a bad mood," he said.

Filipina beautician Arlene Babatio said she loves to shop for perfume, make-up and clothes, but that obligations back home, including her three children, make it difficult.

"If I could I would shop every day. Shopping is therapeutic and fun. The minute I shop for myself I see something that would be beneficial for them and get it instead," she said.

South African housewife Debbie Paterson, 32, said she mainly shops for fun during the summer, when it is too hot to go to the beach. "I often get beachwear but I often end up buying the same things," she said.

Pakistani sales manager Omar Farooque, 45, said if he feels like spending some money, he usually gets things for his children.

"I buy toys or books or puzzles. For myself, garments. I'm a very careful spender as I'm not a rich man. I have to take care of my spending, but I do it for just for fun sometimes," he said.

Sri Lankan sales coordinator Chathu Peiris, 23, said spending money on cutting-edge items in the shops makes him "feel better".

"I feel happy when I have something new. If there is something that is new I like to get it. It is a nice habit," he said.

Your comments

That is only temporary therapy for me. I have learned to do new things now to overcome stress and homesickness.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: November 11, 2007, 15:10

I think it is absolutely ridiculous to spend your hard earned money on shopping. For some it is fun, but later on it will be a nightmare, especially when you would have to pay after using your credit card to shop.
Posted: November 11, 2007, 13:55

The so called "therapeutic" shopping leaves you feeling so good until the bills come. Then you wonder why you had to go shopping in the first place.
Posted: November 11, 2007, 13:23

I have also lived and worked in Dubai for almost a year and I have found that shopping works as a retail therapy, but only temporarily. It ends the moment your money changes pockets.
Posted: November 11, 2007, 09:57

Actually, the aftermath of frenzied "therapeutic" shopping eads its victim to further depression as a result of the pangs of regret. As the adage goes, buy what you need, not what you want.
Posted: November 11, 2007, 09:32