Today saw the opening of Europe’s biggest city mall, Westfield shopping centre. The mall located in Stratford city was heaving with thousands upon thousands of people eagerly waiting to bask in the glory of all the shiny, new stores. Oh and a performance from popstar Nicole Sherzinger was probably an added bonus.
For weeks people have been excitedly talking about the opening of Westfield, excited to see all the new shops and high street heavy weights the 1.9 million sq ft centre will accomodate. And I must say it was a sight to behold.
People of all ages were literally rammed into the shopping centre fighting their way in and out of shops trying to blag a freebie.
As I looked around at the masses of people it just made me think, all these people are here just to buy new things? Even a scantily-clad, gyrating Nicole Sherzinger couldn’t draw people away from the lure of shopping, some just took one glance and then walked away.
Consumerism is often described as the need to constantly buy new things, regardless of whether you have the funds for it or not.
People, including myself, get a temporary high from buying things. A feeling of excitement when you buy a nice pair of shoes that are impossible to walk in but just make you feel like a superstar or that feeling of pride when you’ve bought the latest gadget on the high street. Most of the time that feeling of excitement is caused by the reactions that you expect from people when you buy something new. I mean when you have those hot pair of shoes you know for a little while you’ll be the centre of attention and maybe even envied by some and it seems like that’s what people crave nowadays. It’s the reason why social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are so popular, you become a mini celebrity. You put up your best pictures that will get the most likes and the nicest comments, you put up those statuses that draw attention to you and you let people know where you are and who you’re with all for the sake of appearances.
Our society is often called a “throwaway society” because we don’t buy things that we plan to keep, most of the things we buy will last us the season or until the next best thing comes along. It’s as if people need to know that they’re apart of the movement and that they fit in. With the popularity of the internet and technology communication seems to have broken down and because of this the only way people can achieve that sense of belonging is by knowing that they have the “right look”.
I remember at a Christmas party a few years back a friend said to me, “You might not be having fun, but just look like you are for the pictures. It’s all about the pictures!” To me that just sums up the reason for all the excitement surrounding Westfield, it’s a new avenue to create a better “picture”. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to look good or want nice things, we all do, but what’s wrong is when you look for fulfillment from material things that don’t last when really it should come from within.