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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shopping: therapy, festival, compulsion, illness, manipulation

Shopping is better than sex.
If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.

Shop Til You Drop Magazine

What is it about shopping? What is it about shopping and the female of the species? Can we live with it? Can we live without it?

We talk about retail therapy. There seems to be a word for shopping til you drop: oniomania. Melbourne - which has more than its fair share of bread and circuses - is contemplating, as Miss Eagle has mentioned before, a shopping festival. Dubai actually has one and so has Hong Kong.

It is lovely to walk through beautiful shops selling beautiful things - even if one doesn't spend. Miss Eagle can still dream about Prada and Bulgari even if she can't afford it. This is why, even though she has not spent a cent there, Miss E was thrilled by the refurbishment of the Ground Floor at David Jones' Burke Street Mall store.

Could there possibly be a down side?

There is the illness. The cultural distortion which sees Hot Cross Buns - an Easter tradition - on sale before Epiphany. Advertising manipulating our children. The sexualization of our children. And for more information on how, when we consume, we are consumed go here.

Then there is the economic impact. Some see the globalization of retail and commodities which it sells as a positive thing. This article - brief as it is - comes out on the positive size while mentioning social disruption and the loss of jobs in some sectors of the economy.

We need to remember that when we purchase all that stuff from China and India it is great for their economies. And they really do need jobs. But when we lose jobs in this nation, we also lose skills - skills that are not always readily replaced with new ones. We can also lose access to jobs and personal economic development for women and young people.

So what is the solution? Miss E has none except the caveat emptor (buyer beware) provisions. Be aware! Demand accountability - not just from individuals but from governments and corporations.

If we become aware and demand accountability, we will become smart, ethical shoppers.

And for increasing numbers of us, we will go this way to the opp shop.