We've been doing it all our lives, and it's easy to misunderstand. Shopping feels like the method we use to get the things we need.
Except more than a billion people on earth have never once gone shopping. Never once set out with money in their pockets to see what's new, to experience the feeling of, "maybe I'll buy that," or, "I wonder how that will look on me…"
Shopping is an entertaining act, distinct from buying.
Shopping is looking around, spending time in search of choosing how to spend money. Shopping is buying something you've never purchased before.
For many people, shopping is nothing but a risk. The risk that one might buy the wrong thing, waste money, waste time, become indebted. For many, replenishment, buying what your parents bought, getting enough to live on… that's all there is, that's enough.
If we're going to shop, then, there's an imperative to make it engaging, thrilling and worth the resources we put into it. The shopping mall (what a concept) is less than a hundred years old, and in the States anyway, they're not building many more of them.
Shopping on the internet is pushing this dichotomy. The idea of subscribing to household goods (like razors and soap) eliminates the chore of shopping and makes buying automatic. On the other hand, Kickstarter wants nothing to do with needs and with replenishment–the entire site is about the thrill of shopping, with meaning and stuff intermingled.
In a culture dominated by consumerism, it's our shopping choices that consistently alter our world.