I'm Not Shopping At Any Department Stores This Year, And You Shouldn't Either
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I'm Not Shopping At Any Department Stores This Year, And You Shouldn't Either

Because feeling "trendy" won't give you true happiness

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I'm Not Shopping At Any Department Stores This Year, And You Shouldn't Either
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After the chaos of Black Friday and feeling exhausted by post-holiday sales, I made a decision that turned into a year-long goal. I started asking myself, “Do I really need to go shopping, or am I just going shopping out of habit?” and “Where else could I be spending my money and time that is more productive and isn't just buying into a multi-billion dollar industry that is trying to sell me "happiness."

It always amazes me to think about how much time I’ve spent shopping online or in major department or retail stores. How I used to call the mall a great hang out spot for spending time with friends, or I would waste hours scrolling through pages of sales items on my favorite clothing sites just to try to try to find the “perfect deal”.

That is why I made a new years resolution to stop shopping at large retail clothing stores and stop going to the mall.

The mindset of consumerism literally consumes so much of our time and money - but at what cost?

After doing a lot of research and reflection, here are my reasons why I'm not shopping at any major department stores in 2018:

1. You don't need it

Most of us, believe it or not, do not need most of the stuff we buy. There are so many items in our life that are barely used, so instead of cluttering up your space with the newest trend or an expensive dress you only wore twice, think about how you could replace all the things you DON’T need in your life, with quality things and experiences that you DO.

2. You spend less money

Even though we are constantly sold to buy something because of sales and those cute outfits that are 70% off, let’s face it: you are probably saving more money not buying these items than you are getting them on sale. Even though it may seem like a good idea to stock up on things when the stores have their annual sales, if you weren’t thinking about getting it for a long period of time, you probably don’t need to be spending your money on it.

3. Support local businesses

Not spending money on large, multi-conglomerate organizations isn’t just a financial choice, but is something we can vote for each day with our dollar. Giving to local businesses or ethical-minded startups not only helps the local economy but also makes sure that your dollar goes towards supporting local sourcing and more ethical practices. Supporting local businesses also supports our neighbors and gives back more to the community than any major retail corporation would.

4. The environmental costs

Most of our “fast fashion” (i.e. cheaply made, low-cost, low-quality clothing) is made overseas and greatly pollutes the environment. The ingredients of most fast fashion clothing are made out of cotton and polyester, which both take a HUGE amount of PETROLEUM and FRESH WATER to make an average t-shirt (about 2,700 liters in fact)*. Not to mention, all of the chemicals that go into making your favorite pair of jeans all goes into lakes, streams, and drinking water of the people and animals in that area. This is only a snapshot of the environmental cost of the 3rd most polluting industry in the world, but it means that we can reduce the amount of fast fashion that we buy and stop supporting these industries as environmentally-minded consumers.

5. The human costs

If you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary, The True Cost, go do it now. This is only one of the many examples of how the fashion industry, particularly giant retailers, have a very negative impact on the lives of so many people around the world. From people dying in factory fires because they did not meet safety standards for women working 15 hours a day for mere pennies, these are major problems that affect the lives of millions of people. Not only that, we can urge companies to have more transparency, treat workers fairly all with whom we support with our dollar.

6. Shopping doesn't bring joy

I’ve mentioned this before, but does it really surprise anyone that spending so much of our precious time on shopping doesn’t really bring anyone joy? Is it surprising that even though Americans are spending more than ever, there hasn't been an increase in overall happiness?

Now at this point, some of you may be asking: what do I do instead?

Here are some ideas:

  • Buy second-hand! (You’ll reduce your environmental impact, and it’s way cheaper)
  • Do your research before you buy
  • Find companies that are ethically and environmentally minded
  • Think before you spend (Is this something that I really want?)

I’ve taken on this challenge because I truly believe that my happiness doesn't revolve around the items that I own and I don't want to support corporations that exploit people and the environment, just to convince consumers that they need the next trendy item.

Overall, I hope this can be a year where more of us can re-evaluate our spending habits and make choices that are better for our health, the environment, our happiness, and our wallet.


*According to the World Wildlife Fund: https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/the-impact-o...

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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