The rise of the zombie shopper

  
I’m waiting for friends outside Urban Outfitters in Oxford Street, one of Britain’s most famous consumer meccas. 
My friends are running late and it’s given me the opportunity to observe a phenomenon that, until very recently, I was a firm part of: zombie shoppers. 

It’s rush hour so there are an awful lot of people making their way home from work but half the people are definitely here to shop. Gaggles of schoolgirls and weary families are traipsing past, weighed down with all manner of bags from discount retailers selling quick-fix fashion to those lugging designer bags containing outfits that are two weeks’ wages for some people. 

It doesn’t matter where they’ve been or how much money they have spent, they are all united in the pursuit of purchasing. 

And I can see so clearly now how it happens. Being able to step back a little, I can see how enticing shopping and consuming is. 

The advertising boards are offering us a better life, one where we are better dressed, prettier and, most crucially, happier. I have to admit that staring at the shop fronts while I waited, I did contemplate whether I could justify a little splurge on the ‘essentials’.

Old habits die hard.

I was a dyed-in-the-wool consumer but I would never have admitted it before. Because I didn’t like to shop in the high street and liked to buy vintage items, scouring second-hand shops and bric-a-brac stores, I felt that I wasn’t a ‘consumer’ – the lies we tell ourselves!

It doesn’t matter what you’re consuming or from where, everyone is chasing the same things – the promise of a new and improved you. Until next season’s new range comes in and the new and improved you that you purchased three months ago will be a sad, out-of-date you.

I’m learning to enjoy the out-of-date me, the one who only has what she needs and wants to focus on experiences rather than things. It’s not an easy transition but I’m starting to feel that I’m one zombie shopper that is slowly coming back to real life.  

 M

13 thoughts on “The rise of the zombie shopper

  1. I think I’ve experienced both of the Zombie shopping experiences mentioned above, both consuming new and second hand. I agree that you can fool yourself even when buying second hand and use it as an excuse to buy even more because it is less expensive and more sustainable.

    Recently, whilst attempting to declutter and simplify my home, I have started to realise the cost to me (emotional/mental/physical) of spending my time sorting and donating things I’ve hardly used, not to mention the financial cost of buying them in the first place. I’d hate to think my daughter might have to sift through all this stuff some day. It has really helped me to curb my shopping habits.

    I try to shop mindfully now and to a large extent it has transformed my home, but like you, I still get very tempted to splash out from time to time. Old habits die hard. It helps to keep out of the shops altogether, but online shopping can be the most dangerous of all, as you don’t even have to go to the shops anymore to be tempted to shop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Online shopping is the worst Ann, totally agree. It is dreadful to think of all that time and money wasted on shopping but at least we won’t make that mistake again – even if we find ourselves in a charity shop! M

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  2. I had a similar experience–went to Target for the first time in months since deciding to go more minimal and less fast fashion. This used to be my favorite store but I just couldn’t bring myself to get as excited as I was before, more aware now of the consequences of my purchases. It felt good but very odd 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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