Saturday, January 20, 2024

Yes, the world is on fire (and yes, we are still buying shoes)

The world is on fire but we're still buying shoes - (here) by Alec Leach. I guess we are all aware of how destructive our shopping habits are to the planet - and we all turn a blind eye. I was reminded of the title of the book when I saw the two ads above, both for shops in Lebanon (one focused on athleisure, the other a very high end concept store) and this is not a hate message for either of the two shops mind you, it just hit me when I saw that many shoes in the hands of the models.

I know this is total hypocrisy coming from someone in the advertising/communication industry. Pushing people to try/buy our products is one of the three main pillars and objectives for any advertising (here), however, as a consumer am very thrifty. Well, sometimes (most of the time!) literally thrifty - meaning I get my stuff, second hand (Depot Vente is a mine of beauties - here) or deadstock (Vintage Something is exceptional - here).

And just buying something sends me into a tailspin of guilt. I mean that. Not only do I follow the rule of one-in-one-out, meaning if I am to buy a new shirt one has to leave my closet, usually either directly donated to someone who needs it (considering how well I treat my stuff, they are usually in pristine shape) or put in any of the Fabricaid containers (here). But truth be told, if I am going to apply the 90-90 rule (am I going to wear this item in the next 90 days and have I worn it in the last 90 days?) then most of my closet is up for tossing. I work from home and most of my trips are just to the pharmacy or to the shops, so basically if I am to apply this rule then little is going to remain.

Still, I am sure most of the readers are familiar with the concept of "Retail Therapy". Basically, when one is having a bad day, or bad patch, or up against circumstances one has little choice in, such person resorts to the only thing they do have control over: Their wallet. So they start buying things (thing that most of the time they do not need) or remediate by doing impulse buying or the like. 

Which brings us to the exchange in the first episode of friends between Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Monica (Courtney Cox):
Rachel: They're my new "I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots" boots.
Monica: How did you pay for them?
Rachel: Uh, credit card.
Monica: And who pays for that?
Rachel: Um, my father.

Actually, the one who pays for that is the planet.

I think what am trying to say is, I have come to differentiate between the "want" and the "need". There are many items I look at online and want - they're beautiful, well made, and generally like the rest of my tastes expensive (that they end up being Hermes is a mystery however) - but the need is what really makes me go and look for things. Due to a combination of diabetes and off-the-chart stress in 2023 I have, again, lost weight (to quote a friend of mine in the US when I told him how much I weight right now, "Tarek, you cannot exist with such a number!") so my pants which were 27 inches have become too voluminous for me, hence "the hunt for the (no, not Red October but rather) fitting pants" with waist about 24 (please, it is rude to laugh).

So, the world is on fire, and I still buying pants.

Sue me.