Case studies cite instances of PTSD resulting from the hand-to-hand combat frequently required of the militant bargain and thrift-store shopper; the repetitive stress of having to get up before going to bed the night before in order to secure a covered parking space at the Tucson Mall; the prolonged and repeated expenditure of money for materials for home-improvement projects that will never see completion; and the missing of a "giant" or "super" or "mega" sale altogether (sometimes also referred to by the subject as a "ganga"). Indications of PTSD range from increased anxiety to avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma (e.g., a decline or cessation of coupon clipping and channel surfing during commercial breaks), and a numbing of emotional responses (discernible by a vacuous expression and an answer of "whatever" to the majority of questions asked).
The event, directly experienced or witnessed, manifests itself post-purchase in feelings of intense remorse, horror, or a sense of helplessness debilitating to the consumer. Subjects may suffer insomnia, recurrent nightmares about white sales, or drift into daydreams about an Ikea opening in Marana. Work may suffer from poor concentration, and withdrawal from friends is common.
Some researchers link PTSD with Auto-TelleMentia (ATM), a panicked state relieved only by the manic expenditure of money in retail outlets, usually by the compulsive use of credit and debit cards.
Many people encounter sales, but do not develop PTSD.