Madame Bovary, in Gustave Flaubert’s first novel, was imprisoned in a gilded cage. In order to escape her prison, she indulged in living beyond her means. She moved on to adulterous affairs and, after driving her family into the poor house, she committed suicide in shame. This serves as a cautionary tale to women crowding stores, clutching credit cards and, perhaps, heading for similar disaster. Meantime, well meaning friends stand back and tell them how wonderful they look. Oniomania, or compulsive shopping, is a behavior similar to a drug addiction and related to self-esteem issues. Spending sprees can turn from elation to depression to a life out of control while the world applauds.