Of Shopping

I really hate shopping. And not just the got-to-go-grocery-shopping or got-to-get-things-to-fix-up-the-house shopping, but the kind of shopping that girls and women are being socialised to like from younger and younger (and more disturbing) ages - what you might call recreational shopping, if you will. Buying things for the sake of buying things. Consumerism. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth for all sorts of reasons. Even the one kind of recreational shopping I engage in most - buying books - makes me feel a bit guilty and this is one of the reasons I try to avoid bookshops; the other is that I'll just end up rushing in there and buying as many books as my budget allows, or rush in there and think "My, what a crappy selection of books they have!". (I am very much a book snob.)

I'll probably be getting weird looks and offhand comments from a lot of people. Not just because - gasp! - I go book shopping more than I shop for clothes, shoes or bags (I think you can tell I'm a cis female by now, albeit a hellishly weird one), but because I'm railing against buying stuff. In a society soaked through with capitalism, how can I even think of doing that?! How can I go against the way status is measured in our capitalistic society - acquire more and more expensive stuff, quite a lot of which I don't actually need - and how can I defend all this while still being reliant on the capitalistic economy to feed and clothe me?

Believe me now, if I had the money, skills and independence to do so, I would run away to Antarctica or some other isolated place and live a life of self-sufficiency. Hell, I'd get off the planet if I thought I could do so (which would most likely be impractical due to the need for food, oxygen and water and the likelihood that I'd have to get all the materials I need, much less the actual food, oxygen and water, from Earth, which sort of defeats the point...I may be overthinking this a little). Until then, I'm stuck shopping for essentials in the great, soulless chains owned and part-owned by corporation after corporation in a great big clusterfuck of malevolence, connections and conspiracy fuel (I'm a sceptic by nature who doesn't take so kindly to conspiracy theories). This in no way means I have to be a resources hog and mindlessly buy the first shiny things I see.

So why do I hate recreational shopping? First of all, it's pointless and I'm not the greatest fan of doing pointless things. If I want to do something pointless, I can engage in any of my other hobbies: singing, reading, writing, spending time with my friends...You know, things that would actually be fun, rather than being dragged round a soulless building filled with soulless people.

Secondly, it's a vile game of status. You buy things you don't need (or things you do need that are hideously fancy and expensive) for ridiculous prices to gain the approval of your peers, since you can afford to spend that much money. That's about it. Since I don't like games of status, I don't like my peers, and I don't like buying overpriced shit I don't even like in order to raise my status with my peers, I see no reason to take part.

Something that worries me is advertising to children; it just rubs me the wrong way. Actually, no, it doesn't just rub me the wrong way and make me feel a bit sickened for no good reason - while not a believer in the notion that children are innocent, I do believe that young children are more likely to fall for advertising bullshit due to having less experience with it. Of course, advertisers will exploit this and plant the seeds of consumerism in their minds...I'm just upset that the rot starts so early in life, I suppose. There are joys beyond shopping for things you don't need.

And makeovers too! Those things piss me off! I've been the subject of many a makeover in my time and I wonder: why bother? I didn't ask for this. I didn't want it. You wanted it, to make me more like you, to make me more normal and acceptable to society. I couldn't give a flying fuck, because the people I actually care about accept me for who I am, not for the clothes I wear. As for society - pah! I'm a confirmed misanthrope, you know, and as such I couldn't care less what it thinks.

Speaking of misanthropy, it's another a reason why I really dislike shopping: I'm in a place I hate surrounded by people. Besides my misanthropy, I'm a shy, socially awkward introvert who gets overloaded in situations where lots of people are involved - like going shopping. Shopping centres are full of people, obviously, and it just makes me tetchy and tense.

I've saved the worst till last: recreational shopping is one huge waste of resources. I think people know this on some level, since the whole point is to shop for things you don't actually need, which requires using resources to make, transport and house all these things nobody really has any use for. I don't think it registers, though, just what we could be using all this space and materials for. At least, I'm hoping it doesn't register, because the alternative - that people know they're wasting resources on buying shiny shiny things and don't care - means that people are being stupid and evil instead of just being plain stupid, and my perception of humanity is already rocketing towards the event horizon of a black hole. I don't need it to cross the event horizon.

I think I may have already written an article about why I oppose consumerism, but I'd like to add something else here. We stroll around the high streets and the shops that could be converted into so many rooms for people to live in, looking for shoes no-one can walk in and clothes we barely ever wear. We don't need these shops. We don't need to raze land to the ground to build them. We need to find homes for those who have none and we need to protect what's left of the environment, and that would be a hell of an easier job without giant shops selling pointless shit and sullying the skyline.