Shop, Shop ’til You Drop

Star Trek characters never go shopping.
Doug Coupland

While no one knows the exact moment that someone exchanged a form of currency for an item, it’s been going on for a very long time. Love it or loath it, shopping is one of those tasks we all do from time to time. The exchange of money for goods has been going on for centuries. The variety of goods and opportunities to shop has never been greater, and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re a hang the expense type, a super saver shopper, a reduce and re-suer, or a do it under duress customer everyone has to shop sometime.

The psychology behind the urge to shop is a fascinating topic. In Unthinking: the Surprising Forces Behind Why We Buy, marketing experts such as Harry Beckwith discuss the unexpected, underlying impulses that inspire us to shop.

Gone to the Shops: Shopping in Victorian England is a charming glimpse into the past, when shopping became a part of the daily routine, as more ready made goods became available, and socially acceptable.

For many of us, shopping is as unconscious as breathing. But have you ever tried not shopping? It’s hard to imagine, but Judith Levine did just that, for an entire year. Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping is her account of disconnecting from the consumer world.

Shopping, especially for clothes, is generally viewed as something frivolous and self-indulgent, and in some ways that’s true. But does that also mean that it’s unnecessary? Linda Grant tells us why shopping is a part of living well in The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter.

Shopping in the 21st century got you confused? Not sure what to buy, or where to buy it? Take a look at The Complete Idiot’s Guide to eBay, or The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience.

Everybody loves a bargain, but what’s the best way to get one? Stephanie Nelson, author of The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half and Sam Pocker, who wrote Retail Anarchy: a Radical Shopper’s Adventures in Consumption will teach you how to shop smarter, not harder.

Shopping, as with any activity, is dangerous when carried to an extreme. Check out Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict, or Hot (Broke) Messes to see the dark side of shopping.

There’s even a genre of fiction devoted to shopping, headlined by the classic Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. Plowed through all of those already? Try Something From Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill or Late Night Shopping by Carmen Reid.

Shop on!


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