Ethics Online

Our day in lieu this year fell on ‘black Friday’, a “sacred day” in the calendar of consumerism. During its advent we’re led to believe that retail therapy, aka oniochalasia, engenders ‘mental relaxation’: nothing heals a heavy heart like a heavy shopping bag.

As far as I can tell however the vast majority of my colleagues aren’t oniomaniacs – slaves to an overwhelming impulse to shop. Few adhere to the adage ‘buy now or cry later’ or accept that Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life. The vast majority stayed at home, had a lie-in and took the opportunity to catch up with their preparation and marking. After all it’s been a tough term and the new content loaded exams will soon be upon us…with still a whole component to go!

When black Friday comes around I can’t help but remember George W. Bush’s advice after 9/11: shop! Personally I never warmed to Bush but maybe he had a point given that one recent psychological study claims 62% of us shop to cheer ourselves up and to feel less negative.

One of the many brilliant things about our subject is we’re free to explore issues around materialism, secularism, consumerism, hedonism, authenticity, meaning, purpose, possessions, social responsibility…in short we’re free to talk about shopping: I shop, therefore I am?

The true meaning of Christmas is so easily lost in the wrappings but from all of us here at Ethics Online we wish you a relaxing Christmas. At least the shops are shut…..but only just.


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