The Idea Dude


Monday, October 13, 2008

When did shopping become a pastime?

It's Thanksgiving Day in Canada today. Even with financial woes, and impending recession, there's still a lot to be thankful for. This is the time we should look at small mercies and small miracles, and most of them if not all, have nothing to do with money. It's about people. It should always be about people. Isn't that which differentiates us as a species from others? Compassion. Heart.

I saw a headline this weekend. Shopping has become a pastime and not a necessity?. It hit me like a lightning bolt. Being in North America, you can't help but be caught up with consumerism and credit cards and quick fixes. Every weekend our malls are full, I'm willing to bet 90% is discretionary spending. Alas, unknowing, with malls open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, I too often fall into the same trap.

I remember the days when there were really only 2 special days, your birthday and Christmas and even then there would be really only 1 or 2 presents on the day. The other 363 days a year were spent looking forward to these 2 days. Now, if we don't get presents, we promptly go out to treat ourselves. The new iPod, the Coach bag, because it makes us feel better, increases our self-esteem. To oblige, shops are open longer and if you're designated a tourist destination, you're allowed to open every day except for Christmas.

I also remember the days when as a family we'd go window shopping down the main street. We knew which stores had clothes, toys and stuff we liked. Hinting loudly so our parents may get an idea what we truly wanted. We'd stroll down the street looking at everything hoping one of them would be in our Christmas stocking. Alas, gone too is the art of window shopping. With it, the time spent as a family strolling down the street, with no distractions like running in to make a purchase.

So while I'm infinitely thankful for what I have even though many have much more, I secretly wish I had less, that we're in some far out place where gifts of life wasn't wrapped or paid for. They were free, like amazing sunsets, the changing of the colors of trees, the gurgling streams on a Sunday afternoon. The lazy days of sitting under a tree with friends telling each other of our dreams. Today I feel like urbanization and commercialization has taken out the heart of human soul. There is no place for roots in a concrete sidewalk.

The best things in life are free. I'm not sure how we got to believe that paying for something makes it more fulfilling....


Blogger Marble Creek said...

Exactly. I don't get it either.That is funny really as I run an online business.

1:58 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Vicky

Thanks for sharing. I guess the online business makes it even more convenient for us to be distracted. For me, they serve an important purpose and that is to serve niche markets. e.g widget or gadget for you 1970's car that no-one stocks any more.

I window-shop a lot online :)


9:13 AM  

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