The Wonder of New
The economic uncertainty over the last few years has led many people to re-evaluate their spending habits. The market for big ticket items such as houses, cars and designer goods seems to have decelerated. However, everyday essential commodities, such as food and toiletries, continue to be purchased. We have to live!
The goods in our shopping baskets are getting more expensive, so we might feel the need to ‘shop around’ for a cheaper supermarket deal. Or, we may choose to purchase store’s own brands, rather than the goods that we enjoy. The ones with recognisable brand names, familiar tastes and textures. We have to adapt to our surroundings.
Some things do stay the same – all of the fears that the food and beauty industry have placed upon us. And, we can never forget fashion. Fashion never stands still. Who can blame us for getting enthralled by the latest and possibly greatest? There are so many things that are out of our immediate control; terrorism, disease; general impending doom. Though, if we are lucky, we can still choose the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear and the image of ourselves that we wish to present to others.
Jacques Peretti’s wonderful ‘The Men Who made Us Spend’ series illustrated, in crystalline clear language, the science behind ‘obsolescence’. Obsolescence is the creation of waste. Put simply, obsolescence is the rejection of something, though in good order, in favour of something new. Of something ‘improved’. Of something ‘better’.
Food, fashion and toiletry producers are constantly presenting new information to us. ‘Low Fat’ may seem healthy, though, it doesn’t stop that food being stacked full of fat free sugar. Sugar, in many instances, is worse for human consumption than fat. The latest fashion will be laughable and completely obsolete in the next ‘season’. Though, those warm clothes would be lovingly used and looked after by someone in need, someone with no concept of fashion. People start to worry about the ageing process early in life, hoping to defy the signs of ageing. The beauty industry makes huge profits out of this fear, year on year. Well, one sign of aging is the glorious fact that a person is alive! Ageing is an achievement, something we should wear with pride. Not feel insecure about. Not feel better by spending money on ‘miracle’ lotions and potions. Though, the beauty industry won’t want to let that ‘secret’ out anytime soon.
'It's time to outgrow aging'
Though the snake oil salesmen of the past were easy to identify, big business presents a caring, benevolent character. Be under no illusion – all we are to big business are coins in a purse, an over debited credit card or a wallet filled with paper.
Next time you find yourself in a shop, stop and think. Do you really need the latest moisturiser, the latest stylish pair of shoes, or diet friendly food? Big companies strive for your business, for your money. They work hard in order to put you under sensory attack, to ensure that you feel a deep need to buy their latest product. Advertising, celebrity endorsements, the desire for the best.
Before you make a purchase, remember the golden rules of shopping in a truly mindful and present way;
1) What you buy is what is profitable for others. They want you to have it, so that they can have your money. Not to benefit you.
2) Do you genuinely need another piece of clothing, another piece of make-up, to try a new delicious thing that you might find you don’t really like at all? Will you use this, or will the new-fangled attraction languish in a cupboard along with everything else you already own?
3) Are you buying purely because you want, and need to? Be aware of your emotions when shopping. You may simply desire the positive ‘hit’ that shopping can provide.
If you do decide to step away from the checkout, or hope to lessen your shopaholic tendencies, try these three steps:
1) Make a list of your ‘hero’ products. Perhaps you have a certain moisturiser that is perfect for your skin, or a pair of shoes that are just perfect for you in comfort and style. Next time you feel dazzled by a new improved moisturiser or pair of boots, think back to your list. Is new really better?
2) Make a pledge, to yourself, that whenever you acquire a new thing, you will use up, discard, or give away something that you already own. This will help you when making the decision to buy something new. Do you honestly need another nail polish? Would you be willing to throw one away in order to have this one? Could your out of date clothes be given away to friends, or a charity shop? Have you got enough food in your stores to last the next week, save for essentials? Are you doing a weekly food shop because you need to, or because it is a habit?
3) Imagine your life without shopping. What would you fill that extra time with? What could you spend the money that you save on?
Think about it.
Big business won’t like this mantra, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it here.