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Good Question: Does Buying Stuff Really Make Us Feel Better?

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – ‘Tis the season for shopping, and one study says that we in the Twin Cities sure do like our stuff.

A dating website ranks Minneapolis as the second-most materialistic city in the country. Newarkcame in first, and Dallas, Chicago and Miami round out the top five.

But does buying stuff really make us feel better?

“There’s an enzyme that is released, and what it does is that it creates satisfaction,” said Dave Brennan, a marketing professor at the University of St. Thomas.

He says studies have proven that retail therapy is real, and in some people it’s more pronounced.

“We do buy a lot of things, but that’s because of our high per capita income, which is one of the highest in the country,” Brennan said.

But the professor also says that high-end stores have a history of not doing well here. Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Saks have all called it quits.

Instead, we buy high-dollar items like boats and cabins.

Research has also found that materialists are much more happy thinking about their purchase than they are once they purchased it.

And when it comes to buying for other people, the majority feel that what you pay matters.

“I think the thought does count,” Brennan said, “but I think people feel better if they give a little more than they would have normally.”

Of course, when the bill comes for all that we buy, feelings can change.

The least materialistic cities were listed as San Franisco, Indianapolis and Sioux Falls.

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