A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year:
Did you sign up for an email newsletter to get a discount code or special download? If the emails are no longer providing you with something that is helpful, valuable, or interesting to you: unsubscribe.
(My goal, of course, is that our dignify Keep Up email falls into the helpful/valuable/interesting category😉)
Personally, email is my most important tool, reference source, and mode of communication and I use it every day. Even if there's nothing negative about the specific emails I am receiving, as I get more and more promotional emails, it becomes overwhelming, messy, cluttered, and distracting.
At least once a year, I need to take stock of what is coming in and unsubscribe from some of the noise. (Buh bye, Wimbledon — which I signed up for to enter the ticket ballot when we were going to London in 2018 —, local eye doctor, gas station points, etc.). Fewer notifications and lower unread message numbers = simplification, clarity, and space.
All brands will be ramping up their efforts in the next couple of months. If you scroll past posts from a brand that rubs you the wrong way, or offers something you simply aren't interested in: unfollow.
The brand's voice will become louder and more frequent in the coming months... unless you truly are interested in what they have to share (inspired by the beauty, connected with the vision, etc.), you may want to consider whether to keep listening to that voice.
A further step would be take a break altogether. Stop getting promo mail & flyers to your house, remove apps from your phone, put limits on your electronics use. I know many people who have taken a break from social media over Lent, or quit drinking in the month of January.
Really, the noisiest time for shopping consumption is November & December, so if you want to take an extreme action, cutting marketing sources out altogether may be the way to do it.
The best way to be intentional about your spending (at any time of the year, but especially during higher shopping times like the holidays) is to make a list, and work from your list.
Start a list for gifts, a wish-list for your home, a list of upcoming needs for your kids' activities or clothes... whatever it is where you envision your dollars may go in the coming months. Some upfront planning will help to minimize buyer's remorse, stick to what you actually want, and minimize decision fatigue.
The threat of technology to our humanness is no new fear (hello, Blade Runner! …actually: goodbye, you are a super boring movie 😆). But, there seems to be an acute crisis of our current cultural moment, as we relate to technology.
Here is just a fraction of writings from the past month addressing this:
With so much pain, brokenness, ugliness in the world, attention to beauty, joy, & wonder is absolutely necessary!
Beauty may not solve problems itself... A stunning photograph will not end famine or war. Banksy's graffiti art does not solve Middle eastern contested-land conflicts.
But, the restoration, hope, and inspiration that come from creativity and beauty are like gas in the tank — fuel for the drivers & changers of the world.
We don’t receive a lot of returned items, but it does happen. Of course! There is some degree of risk in shopping online, always.
Stores take different approaches to return policies, sometimes with great sophistication in how it will impact your willingness to purchase. Here's a little peek at what I've learned over the years (as a customer and also as a retailer) about return policies.