Art of Shopping

History shows us that certainty and predictable stability often precedes great change but just because I can buy apples and mushrooms all year round, does it mean that the world of retailing is in for a major overhaul?


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THE ART OF SHOPPING should be an art mastered by the consumer but this is seldom the situation. Today, it’s the architects, designers, and people in branding and marketing, with an interest in selling, that have combined their skills to become masters of the art of shopping.

Simply put. those who capture our attention and orchestrate our spending habits, get the trade they design. You.

Is this trade fair?

Individually, we believe we all review our own buying habits and can easily judge whether we are following the sellers path or our own. But as a group, sellers will always be able to spend more time working out how to sell to us however hard we try to be ever more skilled at buying. What is needed is a School of Buying, or better schooling in wise buying.

I have heard that the filmmaker, Harun Farocki, shot a film to show how architects, financiers and retail specialists come together to create these successful environments designed to make us all consume more – the total ART of SELLING – but I have yet to hear of any films that are designed to help the consumer consume more wisely. (Update: Thanks Tom for link to

In some places, like the U.K., money borrowing, usually via a credit card, is heavily promoted so as a result, people shop a lot. Many shop till they drop into serious debt. For them, stomaching their pay-back time is very hard and too many people wise-up only after their spending times.

There is a short term benefit to shareholders, banks and finance institutions who all encourage this spiralling party of spending but there’s the long term problem, one which back-fires across society.

The phrase “Buyer Beware” has never been more appropriate, but when society takes the hit, the concept of “Seller Beware” needs to be examined more closely. This applies as much to an individual or family as it does to an entire nation negotiating international trade deals.

Will some social economist rise up to challenge the systems which promote boom to bust economics? I doubt it.

My hope is that the art of maintaining the larder of balance, needed for this World whilst it remains dominated by the human species, is achieved through keeping all other aspects of the World on an even keel and in tune with itself.

Civilisations grow through the perpetual development and exchange of fresh creative thinkings and doings. Civilisations shrink when they focus too highly on regulating margins of profit, whether these go to individuals or groups.

To keep alive the evolution of growth, the creativity of all needs to be magnified so an endless stream of variety is produced.

If you are a ruler, your day will be easier if you make rules which standardize, but if this places restrictions on the very insights required to keep both you and those over which you wish to rule, afloat, then somehow you miss the boat.  If your rules limit the freedom of the market, you will end up with a regulated high street. And when the high street doesn’t go as planned, those not on the high street need to rise, and with foresight, because the last thing that this civilisation wants is to witness its fall following such a wonderful rise,

Take care out there.

Lets’s make waves together.