There may be some (women or not only?!) who can benefit (at least temporarily) from the ‘therapeutic effects’ of shopping (a view from India on this), yet it doesn’t work for me – I loathe it.
Some are afraid of driving on high roads; it seems that I’m not, after I drove both on the Transfăgărăşan and Transalpina this summer. Others are afraid of public speaking; I’m not, as long as this is my current job.
Those scared of heights or those hardly willing to speak publicly could possibly understand how (not necessarily ‘afraid’ but clearly) incomfortable I am with going shopping.
Almost every time I have to buy something (meaning that I-really-need-to-do-so!!! ), I feel that I am challenged to get out of my comfort zone, and most shopping sessions and prove to be distasteful experiences.
They can be either mildly depressing to pychologically exhausting experiences. Except for the rare occasions when they were more ‘cultural experiences’ rather than actual shopping.
Although I did buy something, and spent several hundred dollars, euros or pounds, I must admit that I didn’t feel so bad in stores where I got ‘good value for the money’.
The few positive examples: Marks & Spencer stores (in Brighton and Edinburgh), a Upim store (Rome), the bazaar around Yu Gardens (Shanghai) or the store on board the US aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.
On the contrary, in over 90% cases when I go shopping in Romania, there surely must be something to be unhappy about.
I could put the blame on (the lack of) available choices, on outrageous (compared to other, deemed richer, EU countries) prices, or on the (typical Romanian?!) attitude of the vendors, however, it wouldn’t be completely true.
There’s no doubt that no (real or imaginary) external causes such as the above could be to blame. It’s something of my inner nature…
I’ve always been wondering… how did our ancestors live without so many choices at hand? Was life really tough in a ‘choiceless’ society?
Well, according to American psychologist Barry Schwartz, our ancestors may have been better off without many of the contemporary choices available to us.
There’s an official dogma in the Western world claiming that the welfare of citizens = the maximization of freedom = the maximization of choice.
But that’s all wrong! According to Schwartz, the abundant choice around us has made us not freer but more paralyzed, by no means happier but actually more dissatisfied.
Dissatisfied with the products we buy, with the psychological pressures of choosing, and also dissatisfied with everything else around.
Could this explain why we are always discontented, grumpy, and ready to try to change our jobs, professions, goals, and even significant others for ‘choices’ that end up driving us crazier than we were before choosing?
I recommend watching this 20-min video of Schwartz, and trying to read his book: The Paradox of Choice. Why More Is Less!
Not that reading it would change anyone’s shopping habits or would open our road to happiness. Maybe it could help us scrap another choice of road where happiness is not to be found.
[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]