Shopping Even When You Aren't

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Sat Sep 23, 2023 · 626 words · 4 min
Tags :  off-topic

My Google Drive has an old spreadsheet. A list of books from Amazon that I wished to buy once I had enough money. It was made during August 2020 as far as I can remember.

I used to occasionally spend time on shopping apps. I didn't have enough time to scroll through shopping apps daily, but when I did, I used to be consumed into it, adding items on my 'wishlist'. I didn't even know that word before Amazon app came along. It was an easy way to mark items you want to have but can't purchase right away.

When do we get that money we hope for? For me, it was half a decade. I was yet to enter university. Saving items that I'll purchase half a decade later didn't seem extraordinary to me.

Just three years since that month and I've already had a one eighty degrees personality change. My wishlists are useless now and serve no purpose other than reminding me that wasting time on consumer traps is of no real use.

Character development maybe.

Should I wonder how much time I spent mindlessly scrolling on shopping apps? I wasn't even a serial buyer - I barely used 3 apps, which I've come to know is a small number for the folks these days.

Back when we didn't have the privilege of smartphones, purchases used to happen only when we want to. And we used to usually purchase what we decided to. Although advertisment did do its magic to make us buy more things, but as a whole, shopping spree was triggered by us, not them.

How much time are we spending just looking at products online? Products have jumped out of dedicated shopping apps and slid into our peripheral vision due to advertising. Social media feeds are littered with advertisements catered to your interest profile. People are being made to waste a lot of mental energy just to make them aware of the many more ways they can fall into the trap of consumerism.

Back then it was a matter of effort to go to the store. It wasn't so convenient to randomly pop into the store just to look (and not buy) and do that regularly. But with phones in our hands and products brandished to us by advertisement, browsing products has become a pastime.

Scrolling through and endless list of products, making wishlists, checking out offers etc. now form regular habits.

The online shopping boom also had another side effect - people now know about lot more products. Not that they necessarily need those products, but now they know about its existence and a percentage of them obviously have that internal itch to purchase it. This is not a new tactic by companies. Creating artificial needs is a long known technique. Online shopping just makes it easier for companies to ignite the artificial feeling of wanting an item about whose existence the consumer didn't even know about until a day before.

Its funny how we have been taught to behave like consumers even when we don't exactly want to purchase anything. The mental conditioning happens since childhood and its very strong by the time we have purchasing power.

As a rule, I no longer keep any shopping app installed on my phone. If I need to purchase something online, I install the app, make my purchase and uninstall that app the very day my item arrives. No wishlists, no senseless browsing for products I don't need.

I won't say that my expenses have dropped - they weren't high anyways. But for sure every purchase I make now seems to be because of a need arising out of my own self rather than being externally induced.

Guess thats a win.

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