I’ve recently arrived home from a 12 day holiday in Hong Kong. I’m well fat now and have done a good amount of shopping, I’m afraid I’ve also become one of those individuals that takes some notice of the brand of something when I buy it. I never used to; I always looked at things for its functional value rather than brand. I suppose I am still the same now even after indulging this particular style of shopping while in Hong Kong, but brand nevertheless now occupies a slightly higher position in my hierarchy of ‘what to look for’ when I’m shopping for things. While at this stage I believe it to be ok as it is still yet a minor consideration when shopping, I dare not let myself get to that dreaded state of utter consumerism; where one no longer sees a product for its use and just buys it for the brand, even if the consumer has zero use for the item. That thought genuinely makes me shiver with fright. In my opinion there is no greater depiction of commonly accepted de-individualisation in modern society than the shopper attracted to nothing but brands; an utter slave to societies supposed fashion ‘trends’ and always at the whim of such corporations to part with their money at the instant something new enters the market. Such is why I call this type of shopper a ‘brand bitch’. And although like most of us living in this capitalist society I am indeed a consumer of some sort, having the shopping habits of a brand bitch is definitely not something I aspire to achieve one day. Incidentally – as far as I know I have and am genuinely proud of coining the term ‘brand bitch’ (I’ve never heard of anyone using it before at least).
After thinking about this shopping phenomenon I’ve come to the resolution that it’s never about doing the extreme of something, and it’s entirely about striking the right balance between X amount of extremes. For example with shopping and keeping up with fashion trends, it’s never a good thing to shop exclusively for brand names just for the sake of brand names because, quite frankly, it makes you look like a slave in a sense. Yet it’s not sufficient in direct opposition to buy things for the express sake of it having no brand just to boycott the whole brand shopping phenomenon – what if it’s not functional or doesn’t suit your needs? In this case the answer for me is functionality. Really, what is it that you are looking to get out of this item of clothing? If you can get it for a good price, it works, and it’s also got a reasonably reliable brand attached to it then go for your life in my opinion. If you’ve got two side by side that are almost similar: one’s more functional but doesn’t have a brand attached to it, then I’d definitely support buying the functional one without a brand as opposed to the less functional one with a brand. I believe the tipping point is when one decides to purchase for brand over functionality.
Hmm. I guess I am guilty of being a brand bitch. I bought some Supra’s in Hong Kong and the largest reason really was the brand – even to the point of being of higher importance than functionality (I could argue that I needed new shoes but I’d only do that to save face). Hah. Well, you know what they say: awareness is always the first step towards change.
(Still: “skinnies and some supras, belly of the beast ‘til it puke us” – Lil Wayne. #noragrets).
I think that applies in general to life as well, the notion of it never being about extremes but always being about moderation. It’s hard to articulate in writing how I see this applying but I’d invite anyone reading this to try and identify areas in one’s life where they commit a vast amount of personal resources towards (time, thought, energy, effort etc.) and to see if they are doing it to the detriment of other areas in their life. Of course in this society the common example is work; for me over the last year it has been magic, gym, and a few other things personally. Don’t get me wrong I’ll always support having a passion and hammering away at it 24/7 at 110% with tooth and nail, but I’m just saying there are psychological implications to this type of lifestyle choice (and it is a choice). Take some time to reflect on how said extreme effort may negatively impact your current life but also, more importantly, how it may possibly affect your life in 10/20/30 years. Because that shit definitely catches up with you – you can be sure of that. Being in your 20’s doesn’t make you indestructible – far from it in fact. It just saves all your psychological and physical trials and tribulations for you to endure later on in life. So we all have that to look forward to (hah). A sardonic quote from my all time favourite stand-up comedian, Billy Connolly, who is now battling physical and mental illnesses on many fronts at the moment, springs to mind: “isn’t life just a bowl of cherries?”
Moral of the story: everything in moderation.
(^ the heroin part was a joke for anyone who didn’t get it).
P.S: the attached video isn’t where the quote is from. I initially swore that it was, but I have since discovered that I remembered incorrectly (incompetent fallible human brain).