Shopping As An Addiction: Buying Junk That You Don’t Need

December 22, 2011

Adam Lovejoy writes from London: What is it with people buying Chinese made junk that they don’t really need? Ok, I can understand the festive season when you have to buy presents for your next of kin, friends or work buddies, even though most of them would be thrown away or end up in charity shops. But why blow money on useless things that you could do without?

I’ll be straight with you: I don’t like shopping and don’t like the way the retailers lure people with their phony deals, inflating prices on things that are not worth even a tenth of what they’re going for. Not to mention the overcrowding and the traffic congestion that are caused by hordes of shoppers descending on the high streets and shopping centres. Central London has become unbearable because of this artificially induced shopping mania.

And there is more that I don’t like about the retail trade: it doesn’t really create jobs, as politicians and retailers themselves like to boast, because let’s face it, anyone can be a shop assistant, and it doesn’t put the interest of customers first. Otherwise it would have never moved the production of most of its goods to poor countries, to cut costs and boost the revenues. Retailers knew perfectly well that the quality of their goods would collapse once they’d be produced by slave labour, but they still did it.

Profits margins, you see. And share holders demanding higher dividends.

But the main reason why I don’t like the retail trade is because it seduces people into becoming shopaholics, often buying things they can’t really afford. Just look at what’s happening now: people are in debt up to their eyeballs and yet, they still continue to shop like some kind of zombies. They have no money, so they ‘burn plastic’ and accumulate even bigger debts that they won’t be able to repay for years. Because make no mistake – the recession is still here and it’s going to bite hard in the next year or two and life would be tough.

That’s why, by the way, governments are so coy about the real state of things. They want people to continue to buy goods and pull the economy out. Whatever the cost to them.

Big retailers use every trick in the book to sell their stuff. They run elaborate advertising campaigns, they target young people, who are especially vulnerable to the poisons of shopping, they develop a cult worshipping of their top designer brands among adults and children alike. They use celebrities to promote their junk, although I really can’t understand how people buy stuff simply because it’s promoted by some brain dead idiot who has appeared on television or has been popular a hundred years ago.

It’s no surprise that people can’t really stop shopping, even when they don’t have any money. They come to large department stores and shopping centres and waste hours there, looking for bargains. A whole culture – if the word ‘culture’ can be applied here – has developed among young people when they hang out in big department stores or shopping centres all day, simply walking in groups from one end to another, eyeing shop windows. Couples holding hands walk the retail trade floors for hours, treating it as a day out, mixing with other similar couples and even exchanging words with them. Hooligans walk the mean miles in shopping centres, adopting menacing looks and exchanging glances with security guards, just to talk about it endlessly afterwards as if these were some exciting adventures.

Retailers have even managed to create festive days that supposedly need buying and giving presents to each other. Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and Halloween which is tomorrow – these are all artificially created holidays that retailers exploit to make money. And Christmas and Easter have long ago become just meaningless words for many people, who like Pavlov’s dogs respond to them only in a sense that they need to buy things to give as presents. It’s ironic that non-Christians are also sucked into this shopping frenzy on Christmas and Easter, probably not even realising that they commit a sin by even considering the two biggest Christian events to be of any relevance to them whatsoever.

Shopping has become an addiction for many people, just like the box and the booze and the fags. And it will get worse, trust me.

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