Overconsumption is destroying us, yet shopping is “our solace, our sedative: consumerism is the opiate of the masses.” Quoted from an article in the NYT, and from the guy who gave the revolutionary Occupy Wall Street movement its name, it sums up my state of affairs as 2012 fades into memory. I go out to buy groceries or walk into a mall and ‘am burning with retail fervor to buy things, mostly, what I know i don’t really need. I scan the glossy tomes (as our digital devices move into the realm of the slim and sleek, magazines and publications seem to be going the opposite way) of Vogue and Harpers’ Bazaar and then compare prices of that delectable set of pumps at online stores or walk into their physical counterparts — football stadium sized Gardens of Eden — that tempt me lasciviously, and then snigger when i stand guiltily at store billing counters. The store clerk even offers me a lifetime membership card, and i am bought for life. I have to contribute to the nation’s GDP, shouldn’t i?
Strangely, the annual horoscope forecast in the newspaper warned me of becoming a spendthrift and losing focus in 2013, among many other things. The television aired a movie this weekend on a shopaholic who joins Shopaholics Anonymous to cure her weird behavior, or shall we be a little more positive and call it, retail therapy? When the lady finally conquers her addiction and walks past a row of mannequins in shop windows who gallantly wink at her, showing off their new attire, she struggles with conditioned responses, but manages to move ahead without giving in. I can still hear the mannequins’ clapping and catcalls of approval as i write this.
This is therapy, unlike other addictions, that makes a huge, huge black hole in your pocket, sucking you into its vortices, leaving you waiting for the next big high, and the next store or the next Body Shop cream, as in my case. I realized that i have something to worry about and need to consciously change this addictive habit asap.
There is a need to simplify and de-clutter these days. I see it rampant in the articles people write and the movements such as Digital Detoxification or getting off FB. The beatific sense of achievement (read: contentment) that is derived when you clean your clothes cupboard and finally, give away that little dress that you will never fit into, ever, is incomparable. It’s like someone walked into your medulla oblongata with a huge broom for some deep cleansing.
To top it all, The Body Shop store called me over the weekend to offer a free renewal of my membership card, alongside some beguiling discounts. And then, i read this article encouraging readers to – “Buy nothing for X’mas this year”, sticking its tongue out at all the e-tailers and retail stores who are out marketing and luring customers via Holiday Sales and so-called value-for-money offers and lavishly endowed catalogs.
It is the season of gifting, and maybe, a wise and kind-hearted move is in order – of moving all the therapeutic moolah to someone more deserving and less fortunate. The Joy of Giving… (without expectations)