Come November, the shopping frenzy starts. Everyone is trying to grab the best deal before everyone else, get the coolest bargain and tell everyone about it. Now that most shopping is done online, it has become a global mania and everyone wants a piece of the pie, even if that piece comes several weeks after you ordered it. I wish it made people happy, but it doesn’t. At best, it only covers the void for a few hours.
I understand the temptation. It’s not easy to resist buying when everyone is talking about what they bought and advertisers are inundating you with commercials talking about price cuts for this or that occasion. I, too, get in on this sometimes. My personal weakness is kitchenware. I buy all kinds of appliances for cooking, heating, cutting and refrigerating food, even though I do not actually like cooking.
Most of us are like that. For the most part, we buy products that we do not really need, and at a price that is not exactly a bargain. Our only consolation is that we have not lost face and we have not drifted from the herd.
There is nothing behind all of this but ego. It’s a struggle between sellers and buyers. They tell you, “It’s a steal! It’s usually $100 and I am practically giving it away for $20!” So you buy and you are happy because you think you have tricked everyone and beaten the system. True, you have five boxes of new shoes that you’ll never open because next year, you’ll buy five more boxes and by then you will have worn maybe two, but for now you feel smarter than everyone else and you’re content.
This excessive shopping is not only foolish, it is a crime against the planet. This is why we produce twice as much as we need and throw the excess in the trash. While our petty egos fill the oceans with plastic, we delude ourselves into thinking we have outsmarted others, but the joke is always on us.
At the very least, we should know where this is coming from. The world today is cold and heartless. We feel alone and insecure, so we buy gadgets and fleeting pleasures to make up for it. If we had friends and family we cared about, and who cared about us, we would rather spend our time with them and wouldn’t click a single link for an online shop that has nothing of meaning to offer.
Now, thanks to our greed, we have come to a state where prices are rising, ships are stuck at sea because they cannot dock and unload their goods, and gasoline and transportation prices are skyrocketing. In addition, the shortage in computer chips has brought production lines of cars and other products around the world to a standstill. It seems we have shopped till we dropped.
Hopefully now we will begin to look for joy in the people around us, in bonding with our family and friends, and in building solidarity in our communities. It is time to move beyond skin-deep communication and begin to find meaning and joy in heart-to-heart connections.