A shopping spree denotes a playful and “devil may care” attitude in a single shopping trip where lots of money is spent. A spree can be defined as a carefree or pleasant outing, in the pursuit of purchasing goods. Often, the term is used in a derogatory sense, to comment on the excess spending of either individuals or companies. For example, it was used in a 2003 headline to refer to three German teenagers who managed to spend about €130 million (approximately $166 million US dollars (USD)) in slightly less than two hours, using stolen credit cards. Airplanes and works of art were among their purchases.
In this sense, the spree obviously resulted in arrests and, though it may have been carefree, it certainly could not be defined as pleasant for the people who's money was stolen. A more traditional shopping spree might take place when someone needs to purchase many things at once, as for shopping for holidays. People with extensive means might certainly spend a great deal of money on gifts.
On programs that detail the lives of celebrities, information is sometimes given about celebrity shopping sprees that result in tens of thousands of dollars being spent in a matter of minutes. For most people, such a shopping trip is well outside normal income limits. In fact, spending excessive amounts of money that one really doesn’t have is more the act of a compulsive shopper. Where money and time are available, however, a trip to the stores to buy items that are not strictly necessary can be good fun.
This has, unfortunately, been capitalized on by Internet and telemarketing scammers. Internet sites may offer a gift card worth several hundred dollars in exchange for a small payment or personal information. The card turns out to be worthless or is never sent. Instead the person loses their money or has their identity, bank account, or credit card numbers stolen. These types of scams can result in people losing thousands of US dollars.
In 2006, the US Federal Trade Commission was able to freeze accounts of many of the perpetrators. Because people enjoy the occasional shopping spree, many fall victim to such scams. Scammers capitalized on the consumer’s desire to shop carefree, and many are still trying to recoup their losses.