Some things are difficult to come out and admit to. It’s the fear of being judged, of being thought ‘odd’. I try to fit in, I do. Before my recent trip to New York a good friend mentioned the phrase ‘Shop til you drop’ and I nodded earnestly. You see, it’s not really ‘fun’ to tell people “I’m just not that into shopping”. (In New York I didn’t even step inside a Gap – I lived in the US for a year and never went to an outlet. You get my drift).
Don’t get me wrong – I love a bit of style, I enjoy nice things and of course I do visit the shops every so often. It’s just that given the choice on how to spend my free-time, I would most likely pass. Living where I do helps – there’s no ‘pop in while I’m passing’, no lure of the bright lights or discount rails. And yet, still, I feel I have too much and buy too much. An acquaintance some time back, quite appalled at the thought of not living near a reputable shopping centre, asked ‘So where’s your nearest Blanchardstown’? I wasn’t being smart when I answered; “Well, eh, that would be Blanchardstown”, but honestly, everywhere ‘faraway’ in Ireland is an average drive of two hours and there was something about the desperation in her voice which made me want to be flippant about something which has become too important to too many people.
In fairness I’ll always prefer meeting real and mostly lovely shop assistants above the dreaded (non)convenience of online shopping. I have needed new tights and socks for my small ones for the last month… OK, maybe two. So I braved online shopping last night for the first time in, I don’t know, 2017? I ordered my bits, easy, ordered one or two extra things, too tempting, avoided the suggestion my laptop made that I buy a ‘complementary’ product I didn’t need to go along with what I did need (I see you’re buying socks for €4 – want to buy these shoes for €70?). I’ll admit I’m cynical because my whole career was Marketing and I can see these baxters coming a mile off. Anyhoo, then came the obligatory nervous breakdown as I was made to jump through hoops in order to ‘process’ my debit card, including the setting up of an impossibly ridiculous password I’ll never, ever remember (grrrrr) along with the system not acknowledging my address as valid (double grrrrr). I needed a small (I lie, a large) glass of wine after the amount of work involved. And I guess I should be delighted that my order arrived today. After all, we can’t even get an online supermarket shop or our bins collected out here. But I earned it after talking to the delivery guy for nigh on 15 minutes, hanging out my back left kitchen window (which we must do for phone coverage) with a teething one-year-old clung to my leg.
“Eh – you have my address, don’t you?”
“I do yeah, but, sure you might talk me through it”. At this point he was 10km away, heading in the wrong direction.
“Would the eircode I supplied help you out?” OK, I was being sarcastic. Total waste of taxpayers’ money.
“Eircode?” Point proved.
Oh – and he called me Lorraine. Lorraine is a lovely name – but it’s not mine buddy. Triple grrrrr.
The lesson? Shopping and I don’t mix. (Oh – and the socks arrived in the wrong size and I got a random dress instead of a three-pack of tights. Ah sure, I can just return them easily – NEVER).
There is an absolute overload of ‘stuff’ in our lives. It’s very hard to get away from it, we don’t need half of it and the problem is getting worse because shop, shop, shopping is part of everyday life. Many of you reading may already be thoroughly immersed in that Marketing Mecca called Christmas – almost unavoidable for the majority. People are panicking that they’re not ready for Christmas. Panicking! So if you’re one of those poor people, please calm down immediately. It’s November.
And it really is all about creating panic – buy now, you need this, you can’t not have that – and all of that is utter crap.
How dare the consumer world paint my Friday ‘Black’! I’m taking it back, thank you very much, and making a few rules of my own – feel free to join me.
- I will not purchase one thing on Black Friday – they can all sod off
- That Christmas feeling is welcome from December 1st, and not before
- I will try to buy less, but better – think local (jobs, services & manufacturers), think green, think quality
- If I do only one thing different this year I will buy 100% recyclable wrapping paper – anything shiny or with foil is not nice to the environment
I’m just one person, but every one person can accumulate a whole load of ‘stuff’ in a lifetime – and bah humbug to that.
Pictures from Galway – our local city. Yes shops are important for local economies, but there’s so much more to our urban hubs than consumerism