Shopaholic Syndrome

Sandwich grill purchased for $7…. Kmart?.. Bargain!

Stick figures hunting for bargains

‘Damn right it’s a bargain, wouldn’t the materials cost more than that?!’ A little voice echo’s in my mind.

‘Why shop anywhere else?’

Sometimes this voice is my own. Sometimes this is the voice of those who surround me.

I cringe. Yuck.

Right now I’m in my ‘serious’ analytical zone. My half-arsed attempt to smile is failing as I begin to illustrate my strong distaste at the idea of people purchasing things, without consideration for the production process or the afterlife of the product.

Many people simply think… ‘it’s a bargain! BUY NOW!’

This buy behaviour surrounds me daily, by many close to me, even those living with me… Ah crap… even by me, myself. Yes, sometimes the serious zone switches off and I get drawn into this zombie natured bargain purchasing behaviour.

Products are so often purchased in naivety based on price, not neccessarily on quality or our actual need factor… Do I need another appliance?

This mentality is weird, we want to feel as though we have purchased something ‘good’, for a price that is better than below the products worth. Why?

We want it cheap, we want it now and we want, what we want, cause… we think we need it or maybe cause we can?

Rarely, do we think past our own ‘needs’. Maybe it’s not cause were selfish or self absorbed, but more because we’ve never really had to think to? Maybe cause that’s what advertising processes us to do?

Everything is so easy these days for us, if we need it we get it, or we wait for it to go on sale, then we get.

Ah material life, it’s so… accessible.

In our world of want and urgency, we forget to understand or even ask, where our products comes from, how they are made, or by whom. Sometimes we don’t even consider what they are actually made of. Imagine if we did actually think about it, ‘nice smelling chemicals, that’s the perfect soap for my skin, buy now!’

Do you ever wonder what effects a product has? The effects the product can have on you or the planet? Or maybe the communities around us.

One episode of shopping can often lead to an incredible amount of wasted plastic, think packaging, thick labelling, think the product itself and then the bag you take it home in. Where does all of that end up? Do we really need all of this extra stuff?

If you decide to start asking questions about your products, would you know what to do with the answers you receive? ‘This product is made in China” Hmm… What does ‘made in china’ actually mean?

To one business, made in China could mean sustainability, ethical labour and a significant contribution to building of better communities. Whilst the same product developed by another business, could be contributing to the estimate 38.5 million in slavery within the world and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, to create individual wealth.

Slavery… have you ever wondered if that is how we get our products so cheap?

Maybe you already ask questions and looking for your answers in organic and ethical certification. Products positive certifications, do they provide us with the answers?

Maybe, but some businesses often can’t afford the ongoing costs of implementing this sort of certification. On another, I question, should they even bother?

How many consumers really understand certifying organisations to the level they should?

Who checks on the certifier? What does the certification provided, actually mean? What are the certifying standards? Are their standards the same as your personal standards? 80% organic in my eyes, doesn’t mean organic.

So many of simply trust the certification and forget, they are actually businesses to and often branding not ethics is the goal.

I ask a lot of questions, but I believe in transparency. I’d prefer to buy off the businesses, no matter big or small, that I trust, the ones who provide the answers, who tell their story.

Can you ask more questions? The more questions we ask, the more consumer awareness, the more you encourage the ‘good’ products to be produced, you know the ones, that are good for you and good for the environment.

Let’s start making our product producers accountable!

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