Monday, September 24, 2007

Will I go to hell if I shop at Target?

The question has often been raised: “Will I go to hell if I shop at Target?” Granted, I am no theological scholar, so don’t bet any large sums of money on this (or your soul), but I would say that most likely, no, you will not go to hell if you shop at Target. . . unless . . . Well, unless, you buy ALL your things there, wear them for two months, then THROW THEM ALL OUT and go right back and buy more.

The thought I want to convey is that we should be aware of our place in the life cycle of our products. Ok, so that may be a very difficult idea for many people to get (“what the heck is a ‘life cycle’ anyway???”). How do you even know where something came from? How do you know what will happen when you give it away or throw it out? (Without a significant amount of research, that is.)

Maybe an easier idea for most people to understand is that things SHOULD LAST. Whether you buy them new, vintage or secondhand or, ahem, even at a large chain store, the intent should be for the purchase to be long-term. Danny Seo, the “green Martha Stewart” (he is SO cool, y’all!!) has said that he would rather buy one pair of $500 shoes that last 10 years than 10 pairs of eco-shoes that don’t last as long.

Why is this so hard for most people to do?? Maybe we all should consider that shopping for most of us has nothing to do with actually needing something. We shop because we’re bored, because we went off the diet, because we stayed on the diet, because we feel lonely, because that is what our mothers did, because Marie Claire magazine told us to, because we have an image to uphold . . . We think very little about the item because it is EMOTIONAL – we focus on the emotional fulfillment and not much on the product. Therefore, I venture that shopping, in and of itself, is not really the problem here, per se (I know a lot of you wanted to hear that!!).

The problem here is with our attitudes that things don’t have a before or an after – just the present - say, as our Saturday night outfit. We have been led to believe that things exist only in the form that we encounter them, in the moment that we need them. It is especially easy not to have an understanding of this when the item only costs $20!! That is not a hard day’s work . . . that is not a major trade off. It is just 20 bucks.

I mean, I love to shop. I really do. And, I shop for the same lame reasons many other people shop for. But, I have learned to be much more self-reflective about my (INCREDIBLY INFREQUENT) trips to Target. I keep these thoughts in mind:

1 – Do I need this or should I just go to the gym?
2 – Do I need this or should I look through my closet again for something that would work just as well – esp. if I go to the gym - for this _____ (event, interview, etc.)
3 – Is this a well-made, well-designed piece and will it last at least several years or is it a silly trend that I will be embarrassed about in 6 months? (Ultimately, this is a very important question as we are constantly lured by the “it” fashion trend. Fashion is fleeting. True STYLE is timeless. Ask yourself, "Do I have real style or am I a fashion victim??")


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