THE WOKE FOLK CONTRADICTION

Let’s imagine that you are modern individual. You are young, or like to think of yourself as young, let’s say 29, an age at which at a less indulgent time in history you would have been considered middle-aged. You work in website development, it doesn’t pay all that well but because you still live with your parents you have quite a bit of disposable income.

You consider yourself environmentally aware, encourage your mum and dad to recycle, have dabbled with veganism, have marched against climate change. You are one of the woke folk. You argue against fossil fuel, consider plastic to be a global evil, would love to own an electric car, if you could drive something other than a bicycle. You are a thoroughly modern millennial, and yet, despite all this, you shop like a burning tyre mountain.

In the funny ole days of yore shopping was conducted on the high street and was a simple transaction between loyal customer and trusty shopkeeper, an exchange of money for goods. Taking something back was frowned upon and deliberately inconvenient because costs would be incurred. This was understood by both parties and great care was taken to avoid mistakes. Occasionally things would be returned and whether or not they were accepted was down to the individual returns policy of the shop. The shopkeeper could pretty much do what he wanted, he might be generous and give you a credit note but if something had obviously been used then forget it, you would be rightly refused as the item was now unequivocally yours. Variations of this system have prevailed for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Jump forward to these most disruptive of times, where the high street is dying an agonising death in the grip of an Amazonian Constrictor and the consumer is a lazy god, spoilt for choice, released of all transactional constancy. The clean modernista need never touch grubby retail reality, they can shop from their place of work or the bus or their bedroom, hermetically sealed in a virtual bubble like a less fiscally responsible Howard Hughes. It is always me and it is always now. Expectation is unrealistic. Dissatisfaction will be reported. Gratification cannot be suspended.

To avoid disappointment they order a few slightly different versions of each item, possibly from different places with the intention of not keeping most of them. They purchase everything through a handy App, let’s call it Clamour, which encourages this profligate behaviour by allowing a single aggregate payment to be made monthly so items that are surplus are not paid for upfront. This is touted as an innovation as money is no longer tied up, there are no fees or interest and no waiting for refunds, giving the shopper the chance to spend even more on even more stuff. 

Thing is, and it is a really big fucking thing, all of the stuff that is not wanted is returned, an average of five items per person per month, usually separately, each item either going back to a reboxing company or back to the place of origin for checking and repacking before going out again, and quite possible again. This is some dark satanic mills shit right here because if Clamour only has a million customers behaving like this then that’s five million items delivered and five million items collected every month for no reason whatsoever other than vain stupidity. Who’s a widdle eco warrior den?

Shopping like this will become an ecological catastrophe, one made of needlessly burnt fuel, pointlessly expended labour and wasted packaging and repackaging, all facilitated by a shiny new staggeringly unnecessary company whose celebrated existence is a fresh sore on the face of the environment.

Inventing new ways to fuck the planet is not what the internet was for, encouraging you to try before you buy more useless shit you don’t need is not a step forward. Make up your mind for fucksake. Why can’t you buy one thing at a time? The right thing. How fucking hard is it?

Obviously, when I say ‘you’ I don’t mean you. Unless I do.

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