For many, QVC is just another shop-from-home basic cable network, an outmoded Amazon ancestor where retired ladies can buy overpriced teddy bears and cubic zirconia earrings. But for a certain segment of the populace, QVC can become a costly and time-consuming habit. Elaheh Nozari recently investigated the world of QVC addicts, and she turned her findings into a darkly fascinating article for The Kernel. The channel becomes an integral part of the lives of some viewers, largely because it offers a friendly, personal shopping experience with an element of quasi-meaningful human interaction that the faceless, automated Amazon lacks. Addiction, it turns out, is part of QVC’s business model, as the overwhelming majority of sales come from repeat customers.
While Nozari spoke to a psychologist and interviewed actual home-shopping junkies in pursuit of this story, the main focus of the article is a Facebook group specifically dedicated to QVC Addicts. Despite its title, it isn’t a support group; in fact, excessive QVC negativity will get you booted. Instead, it’s a safe space where QVC enthusiasts can discuss their purchases and describe their viewing habits. It’s a cloistered world, and Nozari was only able to observe the ever-growing group’s activities from a distance, since its members would not interact with her directly, because “They thought I was a fraud.” It is important to point out that not all QVC devotees are compulsive shoppers. But, as a psychologist observes, the most vocal members of the Facebook group do exhibit the signs of addiction. For their part, the members of QVC Addicts do not want to change their ways. As Nozari writes:
The general feeling in the Facebook group, and among the other women I spoke to, is one of pride. They understand QVC has an overpowering presence in their lives, and they embrace it. It makes them feel good, whether it’s the mindless escape of watching or the shopper’s high they get from buying. They’re united in their praise for QVC and against those who judge them. In December, after one member posted a photo of eight packages outside her door, another commented with relief: “I’m just so glad there are so many of us!”