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Culture

Shop without dinging your bank account

Shop.com's online game Cart Me Away is a total gimmick, but it looks like fun.

Although I prefer my shiny credit card to virtual money, my shopping bill at the end of the month always reminds that I should find a new hobby.

Cart Me Away
'Cart Me Away' is coming up with new ways to attract shopping addicts. Shop.com

Shop.com's game Cart Me Away is nodding its head furiously in agreement. The theory behind the online game--which originally launched in May, but because of its popularity, Shop.com says, will soon add a few new twists--is that people can have fun shopping online without spending any money.

A total gimmick to get people to spend more time on Shop.com and thus lay down real bucks? Yes. But is it fun? Probably.

The appeal of the game--which claims to be "a hip fusion of Sex and the City meets The Price is Right"--are the different puzzles that can be solved by, well, shopping. Players get a daily spending limit and must pick the right combination of items, within that budget, that best fit the given story line. The new scenarios will include a college flashback weekend that includes wild fraternity and tailgate parties; a costume bash; and some relaxation time.

If players use their hints to pick a winning combination of items from the 20 products of the day, they win real-life prizes, including a $10 or $20 gift card, a $1,000 shopping spree or the grand prize of a $5,000 shopping spree.

The new edition of the game is set to launch September 2. But with a name that rings with escapism, don't get too carried away.