“Shopping” is one of my trigger words. I have never understood what is so wonderful about spending too much time looking at lots of things I don’t really need – and then ending up buying some of them because your friends are carrying lots of bags already or because you feel embarrassed to leave the shop without spending any money.
My process is different. When I need a new pair of shoes, I walk into a shop, check out the shoes and buy the pair that suits me best. It’s a rare occurrence that I find nothing at all and have to find another shop where I find my dream pair of shoes. No such thing as trying 20 pairs and then repeating the process in 5 other shops only to return to the first pair or not buying at all.
Shopping for me is a necessity, not an activity to enjoy with friends.
Now let’s transpose those two approaches to online shopping. I have one single place (the internet) where I’m looking for shoes and usually could find easily what I’m looking for, buy it and be done with it. I cannot see why browsing every other day and having packages arrive at my home on a regular basis would be any kind of thrill to start with.
Many online shoppers also live in a world where one would order 16 items in the full understanding that 15 (or even 16) will be returned at some point in the future. I agree that sometimes size and shape may be an issue and needs checking. Of course it is. But that doesn’t explain why one would need 16 items to start with. I’m sure this has nothing to do with fashion, but all to do with boredom, and possibly a lack of attachment to the real world.
Besides all of this, there is a financial side to this: buying all that stuff has been made so simple that many struggle to keep their spending under control. It’s easy enough to click that “buy now” button and forget about it all until the card has an overdraft. And then ignore those alarm signs, too.
Online shopping, to those who might have a (slight) shopping addiction, is a trap: shopping at the mall involves a lot of effort and time, while online is on your phone for your enjoyment while you are waiting in line at the supermarket. The more you make use of it, the more normalised it becomes. It’s only a matter of time until it becomes a habit and your spending will go over the roof. There is less hesitancy involved as well: you are very much aware that anything can just be sent back – but are you actually doing it? Is returning those items not too much hassle after a while?
If I touch on things here that make you cringe or remind you of yourself, I invite you to take a step back and consider your online shopping habits and figure out if those actually suit your real needs, your finances and your lifestyle.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.