Shopping is not entertainment

By Jill McKenzie

July 21, 2017 9:54 AM

Once upon a time, most shopping took place in a town square where skilled artisans sold their specific wares. Consumers had only the time and money to visit the ones they specifically required, such as the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker.
Rarely did a peasant stop to look at shoes that were unaffordable, even if they were badly needed.
When the middle class grew in size, prosperity and mobility, so too did their appetite for stuff and things.
Some of what they bought made their daily lives easier and allowed them leisure time.
This leisure time allowed them to desire books, toys, trinkets and a change or two of clothes.
It was the first department stores that really revolutionized shopping, though.
Bringing a variety of wares under one splendid roof introduced shopping as an experience and a pastime.
For the first time ever, regular women were the object of consumer marketing. Not only could they see, touch and smell the products on offer, they could spend the day feeling special and pampered.
The selection of products in a department store gave people the impression that what they bought was an extension of their own personal style and taste.
This led to a greater demand for variety, store-front window displays, advertising and, eventually, the mass production of goods.
And here we are.
From the beginning, shopping has seemed like an adventure. What will you find? How will your purchases refresh your outlook on life?
We seldom question the ways stores lure us in, but if you look closely, you should be able to guess what you’re being sold—just by how it’s decorated.
Outdoor adventurers might like the taxidermy at Cabella’s.
Winner’s and HomeSense have a sparse, warehouse feel to give the impression that you must be getting discounted, outlet prices.
Safeway has dimmed the lights so you can relax and buy your food in peace and quiet. Even as we step inside, the sales pitch begins.
Are you looking for a great time with your kids? Buy these toys. Romance with the wife? Jewelry is a must.
The truth about shopping
The truth is, clever marketing has worked on people since it began. If you’re tired of the treadmill you’re on, working to pay off a never-ending credit card bill, maybe it’s time to examine how you shop.
There’s a reason clothing and cosmetics are handily located next to the food at Superstore. For women with little time, there for the best deal on food, a quick browse can’t hurt.
Pricey snacks, gadgets and magazines are located near the grocery store check-out to catch your eye and drain your wallet of a few more bucks. Likewise with the long chute of cheap products leading to the till at Winners and HomeSense.
When you enter a store, you are being bombarded with the notion that you need something, that your next purchase will make you happier, and your life easier.
But we know the truth, don’t we? When you take yourself to a store, you are tempting your own resolve not to overspend. More often than not, we give in to the temptation that everyone eventually feels.
There are many ways to justify what you buy. But there is only one way stop spending frivolously.
The truth about shopping is it’s not a pastime that has to be part of your life. You can celebrate without spending money to reward yourself. You can deal with other emotions in much healthier ways.
There are plenty of other, more fulfilling, things to do with your time. Take a class, get a hobby, help someone in need. Remind yourself that shopping as a pastime is a waste of both time and resources.
If you can’t afford to bring home more things, stop putting yourself in a position to desire them. Shop only when you must, take a list and stick to it, and be accountable by reporting back to someone you trust.
The peasant that didn’t stop to look at shoes had self-restraint because it was a matter of survival. We should be very glad that, for the most part, people in the area can still buy the necessities of life. But how many among us continue to bury themselves in unnecessary debt because they refuse to change their spending habits? Why must the band play on even whilst the ship is sinking?
For centuries now, we’ve been trained to think shopping is a destination in and of itself, that the act of looking at new things will inspire and reward us.
In reality, it steals our joy and leaves us wanting more. If shopping is costing you too much, both in terms of money and contentment, find something better to do with your time.

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