Have you ever fallen into a black hole of comparison shopping? You’re looking for a new digital camera, for instance. You head over to Cnet.com and read some reviews of various cameras, watch the video demos, identify the model you want. Then perhaps you employ Google’s shopping search to price out the options and find the best deal. All of the sudden, it’s four hours later. You’ve found the perfect camera, but your purchasing triumph is tainted by a creeping feeling of, well, disgust. Couldn’t that time have been used better?I was thinking recently about what my biggest distractions were – the things keeping me from pushing my creative projects forward. As I scanned through my daily activities, I found that the most insidious distraction was, in fact, things. More specifically, the wanting, hunting, and getting of things – whether they be tangible (a new computer) or intangible (information).
As Annie Leonard says in The Story of Stuff, “Our primary identity has become that of being consumers – not mothers, teachers, or farmers, but of consumers. We shop and shop and shop.” We love our stuff. Yet more than the stuff itself, we love the act of finding it – the search, the anticipation.
But why is consumerism – and particularly, an online hunt for the ideal purchase – so addictive?