IN THE NAME OF THE MALLS, THE SKIRTS AND THE HOLY ADVERTISEMENTS

It was a usual Thursday evening. I was lying in my bed, surfing on the internet, watching senseless videos. Suddenly my relaxing mode was interrupted by a young lady, proudly announcing that shopping is freedom, joy, fun and her beloved hobby. I found that interesting information on a forum, where people tried to find new hobbies but instead of shopping I always thought that reading, riding and cycling are hobbies.

So I learned my lesson and that simply was the reason why I was very motivated to find out how such a development could happen. How is it possible that shopping became an ordinary hobby like reading or biking?

For the people 40 years ago were happy about some bananas and shopping and did not really seem to be a big pleasure even less a hobby.

Another reason was the Zara case study mentioning that entire fashion lines are updated twice a week, that there are thousands of new styles every year and that this system successfully works.

Thus, I met our capitalist society´s new religion: consumerism.

Let´s start by having a closer look at our environment, now. Imagine you are walking through the city on a sunny day. Birds are celebrating the arrival of the spring and everywhere those huge banners are blowing in the wind, screaming: “Put off your brain and get it!” And so we channel our way, directed by the words that we aspirated, directly to the new cathedrals, our place for pleasure and fun – the huge malls. Slipping through naves, passing cruciform plans and preacher that announce the newest trends.

Becoming a “good shopper”, applying the “moral code of consumerism” and in between getting our hair done by a follower – that is what we are seeking in the malls.

Admittedly shopping promises a certain reward, the feeling of affiliation and being fashionable, but it can never be completed because there will always be some space in your wardrobe and the designers make a huge effort that we are not running out of new styles. You consume and consume and consume with an energy you cannot bring up for any other thing like your term paper that is due soon or the dishes that are already forming a mountain in your sink. It just absorbs you and that is not just plain speculation. According to Professor J. Gershuny of Essex University the average time devoted to shopping raised from 20 minutes to 40 minutes a day in the past 30 years and the trend is going even more upwards.

So if you reflect on it, it is the same with religion. It promises something higher, something transcendent, something that we can aspire but never really reach.

Above that malls are not just a symbol of the new cathedrals; rather they are entire new cities where palmer find their joy. An example for that is the Metro Centre in Gateshead (for more information visit: http://www.metrocentre.uk.com/)where you have to cross the town square to reach a Roman forum and a Mediterranean village. So why take the burden of a long travel to Italy if the Mediterranean atmosphere can be found directly in front of your nose? It is so simple but it works.

The problem of those cities in the city is that they have an capricious impact on the real cities, forcing them to create more and more of those shopping cathedrals. And so the expansion can hardly be stopped. We as the consumer just play the game, because if you are honest visiting a city nowadays means visiting the shopping malls there, doesn’t  it?! For a pencil with a famous monument on it will burn the memory of the visit of this wonderful place more in your mind than a simple photograph, right?!

In the end, we have to admit that the magnetic force of  “shopaholism”, like the lady in the forum already described, has infected almost all of us and it will be better to be aware of the fact that “until we drop, there is nothing else to do but shop.”

AMEN!

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