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The International Writers Magazine
: Lifestyles

Retail for the anti-retail
Gemma Roxanne Williams

Assistant Editor

Ok, so I'm sitting here in my new jeans, a rather gorgeous spangly top and with a brand new hair-do; convincing myself that the happiness given by my pretty new clothes cancel out the panic of the extra £40 debt hanging over my shoulders-doh! But surely pretty clothes are more important than food and bus fares.. right?!

Alright, so I can’t take my usual anti-retail argument; while I would normally be condemning those who splurge all their money on meaningless items, I am now one of them. Admittedly the jeans and top are from a charity shop (I can hear my sister screaming at me for that one- has to be designer to be worth wearing apparently!), and the hair-do was ‘a la Gemma’ (translation: having too much wine and deciding that hacking at my hair and dying it red was a good idea- note to self, it is not!).
So I can almost justify my needles spurge with the defence of my cheapo student spending habits (why pay £40 for a top for the sake of a label I cant see, when I can get an old one for £5 minus the label?! Crazy!). Yet the fact is, post break-up, (after the chocolate and Kleenex phase of course!) my thoughts jumped to new clothes, new hair, new image…

So why are we so obsessed? Why on earth do we think material possessions will solved all our problems? I blame advertising (although it is rather easy to blame advertising for our own faults- yes daddy,the advert MADE me go overdrawn for these shoes, honest!). In our defence, if we are constantly bombarded with the message that these new shoes will get you that perfect job, or this hair dye will get you that model boyfriend.. what can we do but give in?

Ok, so perhaps we should all develop greater inner strength, and learn to improve ourselves in a more spiritual rather than superficial level; help those in need, develop your faith etc etc. But in a society where the ‘real you’ is only discovered if the ‘superficial you’ interests someone, or attracts their attention, why bother being a great person if no one wants to get to know you? While I don’t completely agree, I am almost convincing myself; and since this is the view of the majority… maybe I do need those shoes and the matching bag too?

© Gemma Williams April 2005

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