Trigger warning: I am going to be pretty blunt and that’s how it is!
Technology and social media are fun. As much as they make our lives easier, they even take over. Take over our mind space and the control out of our hands. The world of online retail has become an extremely powerful tool that makes the human body and mind lazy to the core (plus your wallet empty). I can’t even keep a count of how many online marts and shops have popped up especially during the pandemic. Yes, it was needed when the entire World was in a huge crisis but now it's not going to go in our phone’s trash box because these apps have successfully made us believe that we can get anything and everything just with a single click plus WITHOUT MOVING AN INCH.
Even if we get the most basic groceries, just a block away, we have started ordering as simple as a cookie online. Ofcourse, this will be delivered to your doorstep - with the caveat of a delivery cost. This cost can be anything between Rs. 25 to 165 accompanied by an enticing advertisement. If you can add more products to the cart and get an even larger bill you can get an extra perk or even avail free delivery. In India, anything which is free makes us go wild even if it’s just delivery. So, to get rid of the delivery cost, we tend to add a larger priced dish or an extra item which in turn makes our total expenditure greater than what we had planned.
We aren't just making our lives easier (OR RATHER LAZIER) but it is also affecting our wallet to a great extent. You are not going to check this or ever realize that the price of a dish shown online is at least Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 more than the actual restaurant price. To top this up there is convenience charge plus a delivery cost plus taxes plus if you are generous enough, you’ll add a tip to the bill itself (as the app suggests- make someone smile just by tipping them Rs.50). The tip that you actually add to your total bill- which the apps claim they add to the delivery agent’s salary is not at all true. The delivery agents don’t even know that customers can add a tip on the app itself and that is meant for them. They are paid the same salary without any extra credit.
These applications have tricked our human mind in such a manner that not only we have become habituated to the entire “delivery at home” concept but also ignorant to not understand that the expenditure on these online sites is much larger than what we have in our physical shopping. Oh! Come on, who wouldn’t like a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream delivered at our doorstep where we are just sitting and chilling with Netflix and something has just arrived to our doorstep that we are craving for in mere 30 to 45 minutes. But ask yourself: is this healthy? Is this normal? Is this what you really need? Was the extra expenditure absolutely necessary? Where else could you have spent that money?
The only hard work needed for online shopping is finding the right restaurant, go through a dozen reviews, see all the various offers / coupons the app has to offer and then place an order. Doesn’t this sound super easy? But it's actually not! The precious time we spend on these apps and all the research that we do, can actually be utilized in cooking a hearty meal for the family, reading a book, writing a journal, listen to good music, learning at least 10 words of a new language, sowing some seeds, walk in the nature and the list of activities can go on.
Also, I am really impressed by the level of advertisement these applications do, if I had their social media team, trust me I would be having at least 5 digit following on social media because they JUST KNOW HOW TO SELL A PRODUCT and gain lacs of buyers. I have no complaints about how they function or how they are running their businesses because that’s how people earn right? I also believe the online market has created employment - which is a commendable paradigm shift in these times.
My whole point is anything excess in life other than love is harmful to the human mind and body wellness. Just 15 minutes be it on social media or online shopping can lead to an hour, 2 hours or more without any self-control and restrictions (we all must have some social media usage rules- if children must have them, ADULTS MUST HAVE THEM TOO). So now can you imagine how many hours from 24 hours you are missing out, which you can actually utilize for self-care, working towards your goals (use a notepad and a pen to write down rather than an iPad), and doing something which is extremely fulfilling plus will nourish your mind. You can choose to go on a romantic date with your partner (dine in rather than ordering in), or do some experimental cooking (buy fresh produce directly from the market) or invent and play a game with your children (run around in an actual garden).
So as much as social media and online shopping have made our lives convenient-the opportunity cost of consuming it is too high. From dopamine rush and then hormonal slump from Social media , to the rush of retail therapy on your finger tips, what is it that you forgot. Did it consume you? Did you procrastinate your exercise or your study time or just not end up spending time with your partner because you were engulfed? It is like a bag of salty crisps you are addicted to but feel a slump the minute it’s over. It increases your craving and thirst but never really fulfills it. You are left wanting more while destroying your insides. Is our consumption leaving us depressed and hollow? Lifestyle corrections… self control and self care.
P.S.: Live in a real World rather than a reel World.