The shopping zombies

About a month ago, I went to a certain mall with my daughter because she wanted to go to a particular store that we can only find in the area at that particular mall. So we drove about 45 minutes to get to this place. The parking lot is huge! The biggest I've ever seen for a mall. Despite the size of the parking lot, finding a parking spot was difficult. I had to drive around to finally "get lucky" and take over someone's spot who had just left. "Ugh! I'm not going to enjoy this!"

We get out of the car. My 15-year-old daughter is making little noises of excitement. She's been wanting to check out this store ever since she heard it was in the area.

As we're walking up to one of the entrances, it felt like we were entering a protected village. Kind of like the forts we might see in movies - a big wall around a little village. That's the best way I can describe this mall to you is to call it a shopping village. An open-air mall. The stores are connected by pedestrian streets. If you don't want to waste time, you need a map to get around it. But I figured since we made the trip over and we weren't in a hurry, we might as well just visit it like we would visit a new city.

The pedestrian streets are broken up by clusters of benches surrounding fireplaces. There are other clusters of tables and benches here and there along the streets. This was all surreal to me. Maybe you've seen these types of malls before, but I've never seen anything like this. I truly felt like an alien in a shopper's wonderland. I didn't feel like I belonged there at all! Is it meant to feel like a community? Is that why it resembles a village? Is it meant to trick people into feeling at home so they're more likely to spend hours and money there?

Taking in my surroundings, I looked at the people around me and no one was smiling. They all seemed to be walking around like zombies going from store to store, carrying packages and bags, looking down at their cellphones. Not "present". It was so strange! Even though the shopping village was packed full of people, everyone seemed alone. Even when they were sitting or walking along side whoever they went there with. No one seemed to really be interacting with each other.

A year or two ago, I might have been thrilled to be there. I would have wanted to go check out every store. Maybe come home with a few packages and bags myself. But the feeling of not belonging there confirmed to me that I have made great changes in the past little while. I had no desire to buy anything. I had no desire to be one of them - one of the shopping zombies. I felt completely out of touch with this unreal reality.

Do yourself a favour and don't succumb to this mindless consumerism. Save yourself from being one of the shopping zombies. Make sure you ARE with the people you're with. Don't trade away meaningful human connections for stuff and virtual connections. It's so not worth it!

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