Increasing numbers of workers spend money on treats rather than cutting down on spending as the recession drags on, but the hangover is often painful. Nine out of every 10 salaried workers in a recent straw poll said they spend money to relieve stress.
In the poll of 716 salaried workers by employment portal Job Korea last year, 96.1 percent of the respondents said they spent money on retail therapy. They spent W149,000 on average a month to make themselves feel better, though the amount varied depending on whether they were married or single (US$1=W1,063). Singles spent an average of W161,000 a month but married workers W109,000.
Some 52.5 percent said the spending sprees were spurred by impulse, while 51.7 percent said they had wanted to buy the goods or services for some time. Some 43.3 percent said they were mostly cheap treats and 25.1 percent said their purchases were mainly to relieve stress. Most of the purchases were clothing, bags or shoes with 69.5 percent, followed by food at 52 percent, alcohol at 24.6 percent, movies or other shows at 23.7 percent, beauty salons, nail bars or massage parlors at 21.5 percent, and cosmetics at 18 percent.
When asked if such spending actually helps, 50.6 percent said yes, but 45.3 percent said the credit card bills just make them more stressed when they arrive later. Some 4.1 percent said they hoped retail therapy would make them feel better, but it did not.