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Spree - A Cultural History of Shopping


A Cultural History of Shopping

By Pamela Klaffke
Categories: History, Popular Culture, Cultural Studies, Humour, Social Issues
Paperback : 9781551521435, 232 pages, 2003


Ten years ago, Faith Popcorn declared "the end of shopping" in her bestselling book The Popcorn Report. But from the looks of things, shopping is as pervasive as ever; we are a culture obsessed and beguiled by the desire for consumer goods.

Journalist and shopping pundit Pamela Klaffke documents the history of shopping, from a time when cattle were currency to the current age of contemporary shopping phenoms like eBay.

Topics covered include:
- The history of shopping malls and department stores
- The evolution of retail design
- Inventions that made shopping easier: the cash register, the shopping cart, the bar code
- Information on the largest fashion retail chain (The Gap), the largest retail firm (Wal-Mart) and the world's largest mall (West Edmonton Mall)
- Shopping meccas and customs from around the world
- The dark side of shopping: kleptomania, shopping addictions, anti-consumerism
- The myths: Men Who Hate Shopping and Women Who Love Shoes.

Full of fun and informative sidebars and photos, Spree demonstrates that how we shop explains a lot about who we are.


. . . successful at conveying the scope of shopping in society. . . Like a shopping binge, Spree is a lot of fun. . .
-The Georgia Straight

- Georgia Straight

. . . a shopper's delight. . .

- Booklist

As someone with too many pairs of shoes to count. . . [Klaffke] is, perhaps one of the best people to dish about something that has evolved from a need to a want to, yes, a sport.
-The Calgary Herald

- Calgaray Herald

...a delightful romp as enjoyable as finding the perfect designer boots in your size at 75 percent off. ..delivered with Klaffke's unapologetic and enjoyable wit.

- Airlines

. . . a counterpoint to all the chatter. [Klaffke's] book is as free of spin as Lucky magazine--and just as entertaining.
-The New York Times

- New York Times

. . . bring[s] to light the history behind our habits at the mall, with stops along the way for insights on fashion, lifestyle, technology and vice--including. . . the disturbing new phenomenon of "shopping bulimia. "
-Elm Street Magazine

- Elm Street

This informative and photo-filled book covers the history of malls and departments stores and the evolution of retail design.
-Avenue Magazine

- Avenue Magazine

. . . combines a whimsical history of milestones in shopping . . . with a witty and insightful look at its place in modern life.

- Maclean's

Spree is an exhaustively researched look into the history of shopping and how it has changed pop culture as we know it. It's filled with facts, but rarely gets too bogged down with dates, numbers and figures. Instead, the book is just a whole lot of fun.

- Nexus

. . . breezy chapters on all things merchandise-related: mini reports on such topics as the evolution of shopping malls; shopping in movies and television; music to shop by; second-hand shopping; professional shoppers; shopping and gender; and shopping and kids.
-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire

Does for shopping what Margaret Visser did for table salt. Replete with esoteric facts, shopping marginalia and popular culture, it runs the gamut.
-Fashion Magazine

- Fashion Magazine

Entertaining, Spree is nonetheless substantive as well--with both historical and timely matter on malls, the retail system, the diversity of shopping options, consumerism, and related subjects.
-Small Press Book Review

- Small Press Book Review