Scarcity Syndrome: Yes, it’s a thing

Have you ever purchased large quantities of an item, for fear that it may not be available next time you need it?  Do you always fill cupboards or closets with supplies, to be stocked up “just in case”?  Or perhaps holding on to items because you may need them “someday”?  Turns out there’s a syndrome for that.

The term scarcity refers the lack of availability, and can increase value based on supply and demand:

From Wikipedia

Scarcity refers to the limited availability of a commodity, which may be in demand in the market. The concept of scarcity also includes an individual capacity to buy all or some of the commodities as per the available resources with that individual[1].

But it can also be internalized and create a mental perspective that can affect our state of mind. A syndrome (a characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behavior).

I first heard of this sometime back when our pastor incorporated it into his message.  It has stuck with me because, on occasion, I realize I fall into this category.  I fear running out of stuff we need, or our favorite products, therefore I continuously stock up.  That includes clothing and other “things”.  Heaven forbid we get down the last “one”.

In retrospect, this focus can create an aura of unsettlement and discontentment, always feeling as though there will not be enough to meet our to day to day needs. It can create worry, and rob us of the peace and calm in our life.  Even to the point of extreme,  such as hording.

As I continue my year long challenge to declutter my home, I realize how I depend on things for my security.  Having a full freezer or cupboard of food helps give me peace of mind that we will be taken care of and our needs will be met.

And yet, all of that can be easily taken away by one disaster or another, and having a well supplied home provides few guarantees.  It also creates the need to spend unnecessary money to support this sense of scarcity.

If we think back to our ancestor’s, they had a legitimate need to sock up.  They would prepare for hard times, and plan for seasonal changes, as their supplies were truly limited or not existent.  In today’s society where there is an endless supply to satisfy our every need and want, it is invaluable to consider our perspective.  I don’t want to be a person expecting to get anything at a moments notice.  Immediate gratification will wreck our ability to appreciate, be resourceful, and to know how to manage without.  Living with overabundance, and supplies way beyond our daily needs, can eliminate our ability to trust, and rely on family, friends and faith to sustain us.

I am going to work on allowing my supplies to dwindle.  To move forward without concern when I use the last of my supplies or even run out of something.  To really analyze my needs when shopping.  This will be a challenge in a society where there are literally floor to ceiling crates of tempting products in our stores and warehouses.  Where credit allows us to accumulate products “on demand” and on-line sellers will deliver next day, to your doorstep.

Where is the need to control our desires for stuff?

This is something that has to come from inside.  Replacing values and life focus on stuff, to what really does bring peace and happiness.

Yes, easier said than done.  I know…


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Naomi says:

    Yes…we need to think about this, too. And change the mind set of “worry”, to “trust”. Thanks for getting us thinking about this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s