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  • I have an entire operation around shopping.

  • I take it very, very seriously.

  • I've got loads of items that I just never even wear.

  • Beautiful, beautiful quality. I've had it for over a year.

  • It hasn't even been taken off the hanger.

  • When we look around the high street and stores

  • we see lots and lots of stuff,

  • but the most interesting thing about consumption

  • and buying is what's going on in our minds.

  • The story of stuff begins in our imagination

  • and in our fantasies.

  • That's the space where we dream about all the things

  • that we would really, really love to have

  • and what a wonderful life we would have,

  • if only we could have this stuff.

  • I always think, "Yep, this is it. This is the item.

  • This is what's going to make me happy."

  • What we consume is an expression of our identity,

  • because our identity consists of a number of different facets.

  • We have an actual self, who we actually are most of the time,

  • but then we also have a social self.

  • We buy products, clothes that express

  • who we want to be at any point in time.

  • I have two moods.

  • So, I have this mood.

  • And I also have this mood.

  • And they're both as vital to me as the other.

  • Like, I feel like sometimes clothes help me take on a character.

  • Buying something new makes me feel excited

  • and like, full of adrenaline.

  • Marketers are very, very good

  • at speaking to the parasympathetic nervous system,

  • the one that makes your heart just flutter,

  • they can't do anything about it.

  • I buy clothes quite frequently.

  • I tend to do a lot of my shopping online

  • so I have orders come in at least once or twice a week.

  • I actually have an order right now that I'm going to pick up.

  • It's a new dress and I'm quite excited to wear it.

  • Excessive consumption is actually proven to make us feel

  • if not bad, it doesn't make us feel good.

  • Recent research has shown that

  • when we have too many things

  • we are constantly dissatisfied.

  • Let's say I spend about half my lunch break looking at clothes,

  • and then I look a bit in between work tasks.

  • And then you add that to some time when I get home,

  • and then the actual purchasing -

  • I would say maybe like three hours a day

  • is spent looking at websites, looking at baskets, returning things,

  • yeah, it takes up quite a lot of my time.

  • Before the 16th, 17th Century

  • many cultures thought of things as opposed to the self or the soul,

  • and what we see in the modern period is a reversal.

  • It's a cultural shift that things start to be seen

  • as central to our identity.

  • There's something really interesting happening actually with consumers.

  • People are actually beginning to get fed up with stuff.

  • We spoke to three generations of grandmothers, mothers and daughters.

  • For the grandmother generation, in that post-war era,

  • there was a much greater emphasis placed upon being frugal.

  • The mother's generation, they wanted to be modern

  • and embrace technologies like the freezer and the microwave.

  • The daughters rejected a lot of that.

  • They saw themselves as being experimental,

  • buying different ethnic foods, trying different styles of cooking,

  • buying organic produce, ethical products.

  • What we found was that these generations of women

  • were all the same in wanting to be different,

  • and the way in which they did that

  • was through how they shopped and bought and used stuff.

  • With the topic around climate change

  • and the impact the fashion industry has on the climate,

  • I am trying to be more mindful of my shopping.

  • So I've recently made a rule to try and make sure that

  • at least 50% of my wardrobe comes from vintage stores,

  • and I really want to get to a point where I'm more mindful about it

  • and it's less fast fashion and less vapid.

  • We've got so much stuff now, we don't really know what to do with it.

  • We spend a lot of time trying to work out

  • how to get rid of the stuff that we've got.

  • Now, rationally we might say,

  • {\an2}"Well maybe we should stop buying all of this stuff."

  • But we don't do that.

  • What we do is retreat back into our imaginations

  • and into our fantasies and so we start the cycle all over again.

  • I would say yes, I do have a mild problem when it comes to shopping.

  • But I like to think that I could stop if I wanted to.

  • Oh my god, that's exactly what an addict says, isn't it?

I have an entire operation around shopping.

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A2 UK stuff buying shopping clothes identity mindful

Why do we have so much stuff? | BBC Ideas

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