Is Shopping Self-Care?

“30% Off Because Shopping = Self-Care!” a new email in my inbox informs me. I marvel at how desperate and depraved the repackaging of Capitalism has become in its many-tentacled bid to keep “consumers” on its tit. To tell people that their “self-care” amounted to, in essence, needlessly destroying the environment for a few hours of fleeting joy in the form of some shoddily-produced garment (but not even “comfies” like pajamas, so where was the self-care angle of this email even coming from?). And, in a way, “they” (the well-paid copywriters of this uncreative subject line) weren’t wrong. Caring about oneself (a little too much), alternatively known as selfishness, is what shopping’s all about. How else could any of us justify our arbitrary, inane purchases? Knowing full well, that with every click of “Add to Cart” we were destroying Mamma Natura. Who will always look better than any human no matter how much said species thinks that a poorly-made Shein getup will be the very thing that secures their place in the “upper echelons” of “society” (a.k.a. amongst their own social circle).

And yet, humanity can never look beyond itself long enough to see that the things (again with that fucking word) it values are the very same things that will be its inevitable undoing. Buy now, pay later—as it is said. But no one seems to understand that the payment made (much sooner than later) comes at the cost of living on an uninhabitable planet. Well, uninhabitable for most. It can still accommodate those with the financial means required to make “further amendments” to their housing scenarios. Even such drastic amendments as defecting from the planet altogether after single-handedly destroying it. These are the very people who shill their philosophy of, “Shopping = Self-Care!” to those who, in the long run, will be effectively annihilated by such a “credo.” Yet they, as slaves to the overlords called Billionaires Who Run the World, can’t help but be manipulated by the “principles” hurled at them on a daily basis. So brainwashed are they that they scarcely have time to think about whether their thoughts are truly their own…or perhaps not the “mind infections” of “The Billionaires That Be.” Though it’s difficult to fathom that more people wouldn’t suspect the foul play afoot when they found themselves, like me, actually opening these emails that insisted shopping was self-care. That you, indeed, deserved to “treat yourself” for the hard day, week and life you’d had as a direct result of Capitalism, the very entity responsible for the creation of this email in the first place. An unstoppable ouroboros made further indestructible by your own complicity. How, just by clicking on the email, by even somehow subscribing to be “on the list,” you’ve shown your passively active involvement in the very system that enslaves you. 

But fuck it, this Earth is going to hell in a handbag anyway, so why not? Oooh, and speaking of handbags, that Marc Jacobs handbag I wanted just so happens to be part of the thirty percent off sale. How can I resist? Click. Oooh, look at that. Click. And so on, until you’ve click, click, clicked this planet into unoccupiable oblivion. The moment your payment goes through, the trucks are moving (and so the fossil fuels are emitting), the slave elves are bum-rushing the warehouse to make sure your stock is picked out of the pile, stack, etc. in a timely manner (so timely, in fact, that they can’t even squeeze in a bathroom break for themselves in order to ensure your package’s prompt delivery). Most “importantly,” though, the Billionaires are getting their cut from the purchase.

All in service of what you want, right? Or at least, what you’ve been hypnotized into believing you “want.” Forced to spin on that hamster wheel all day (even if you are working from home now) to the point where you don’t know what possible satisfaction you could get from anything with the little time you have left to yourself. So yeah, why not just buy something to fill that void? That black hole where satisfaction can never exist because your life is founded on a house of cards called Free Enterprise. One that you keep playing into because, “What else is there?” as we’re all asked so often when expected to come up with an alternative somehow automatically assumed to be Cold War-era communism. And then there is the matter of the propaganda machine that demands, “Who among us would not do the very same if we were Billionaires continuing to profit from our ceaseless pillaging of Mother Earth?”

That’s the “logic” They want to instill us with. Because They want to invoke “empathy” from the masses. Empathy meant to be derived from the false notion that said masses could one day, too, be in the same financially rewarding position if they just keep working hard and never give up. You know, like Boxer, the horse in Animal Farm. Ironically, Boxer was meant to be an emblem for why socialism is a load of hooey, but his ceaseless working without any reward or benefit is easy to reimagine within the context of Mercantilism. And no, like Boxer, the masses will never gain anything by continuing to work tirelessly for their master. The one that promises them something “big” on the horizon that will never truly come, unless that “big” moment is meant to be: Dying In Obscurity. A fate that will come to us all no matter how much we’ve scrimped and saved to enjoy those few years of retirement. During which we’ll probably end up getting poisoned at a Sandals before being able to maximize something like “enjoyment” for very long. The one goal we worked away our whole lives to achieve in service of the Billionaires and their precious Capitalism. So concerned are They with keeping the proverbial “pie” wholly intact for themselves so as to continue dipping their fat, faux-tanned fingertips into it.

To be sure, the entire System is designed to ensure that the hoi polloi never ascend past their current station, save for that rare shining example meant to be wielded as a lone beam of light that flashes just above the still-poor folks (which, to the true richies, are the middle-class, with “just enough” [fake] purchasing power to propel the System). That Billionaires remain as such—that is to say, obscenely wealthy—while everyone else stays down at heel where they “belong” is the very essence of how the wheels of Capitalism keep grinding. And why I have, yet again, let myself be mowed down by them as I click out of one email and into another: the confirmation of my purchase. The confirmation of my cowardice. The confirmation that I have no idea what real self-care is because I have surrendered to this con that will kill me and everyone else if I keep making such nonchalant, seemingly “inconsequential” decisions that shouldn’t feel this guilt-inducing if I’m really to experience something tantamount to “self-care.”  

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