No group of friends would be complete without that one preachy member, intent on convincing everyone that technology is ruining their lives. “Our phones have become our extensions! Our news feeds have become our home screens, and let’s face it, we don’t talk in person anymore,” she’ll rant. The rest of the group will ignore them, but you’ll sit there pondering, what if she’s right? What if she has a point?
The other day I was walking in Greenwich Village and stumbled across a pet store. I could see puppies playing in the window. A little girl was gawking at their cuteness, begging her mother to hand over her iPhone so she could take a picture, before the puppy shifted to a slightly less photogenic position. When I was a kid, I was begging to pat, hold and play with the puppy, today’s youth merely wants to capture it on a screen.
Yes, there is value to the statement that technology is ruining human relationships, despite its undeniable benefits and conveniences. But that could only refer to endless scrolling and browsing. Could it be that online shopping has the same effect?
Throwback to the days when hanging out in the mall with your friends used to be the thing to do on weekends. The mundane act of purchasing a new jacket or pair of shoes used to serve as a unifying activity for a group of otherwise bored people. I still remember entering stores with a mission: to find that perfect new blazer, or the jeans from the famous ad. This carefully selected item would then become the prize you used to decorate your wardrobe, your friends were your comrades ‘in hunt.’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the convenience of online shopping. There’s nothing that makes you quite as happy to be living in the 21st century as ordering your basic necessities from the comfort of your bed. However, what I am pointing out is that group shopping is now becoming a relic of the past. Hanging out at the mall with friends, asking for their opinion on how I look in that dress with the pink flowers, on what to buy doesn’t happen anymore. Instead, we send links from our Facebook and Instagram pages hoping for the same effect. Let’s not give up those Lizzie McGuire days when shopping with your friends served as a social bonding activity. Don’t get trapped behind a computer screen. Next time you need to buy something, grab a friend, leave the house, and check out some great brick and mortar stores. Trust me, you won’t regret it.