3. Warning: The Zombies Are In Town

At the start of this whole COVID-19 crisis, panic buying took hold everywhere.

The definition of panic buying is: the action of buying large quantities of a particular product or commodity because of sudden fears of a forthcoming shortage or price rise. 

Maybe those that did it had some defence. Civilisation has advanced faster than our brains have developed. In times of crisis our primitive instincts surface again. We seek to grab what we need to maximise our chances of survival. Then again, perhaps civilisation hasn’t left us completely unaffected. Here in the UK the shelves weren’t cleared of bread and water so much as toilet rolls and passata. Go figure.

Now though, as we slowly emerge from the Corona pandemic and lockdowns are eased, another less explicable phenomena has shown itself, the seemingly irresistible need to shop for crap.

When the shops and malls shut down, and staying at home was the rule, our only option was to buy online. But now we’re free, we can make other choices.

And what have many people chosen? They’ve chosen to be zombies.

Amanda Hocking started her post-apocalyptic zombie novel ‘Hollowland’ with the words 

“This is the way the world ends; not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Looking at what’s happened recently I think she could have said “Breaking down the doors to the shopping mall”

And be in no doubt, the zombies are actual and they’re out there. They must be, because surely no fully functioning and aware human would willingly risk contracting a potentially lethal virus, just to buy a new pair of sweat pants?

If we thought the Black Friday or January Sales were crazy, at least the worst that could happen there was getting an elbow in the ribs or a foot stood on. Maybe the reward of a half-price flat screen TV in return for a bit of bruising was worth the pain, but this?

There’s only one explanation. These people aren’t thinking, they’re zombies and they’re being played. They think they’ve been given their freedom back, but they’re still locked up behind walls built on money and desire. And you can’t escape a prison if you don’t know you’re in one.

George Monbiot, the British writer and activist, said this about the Black Friday sales. 

“Governments are deemed to succeed or fail by how well they make money go round, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose. They regard it as a sacred duty to encourage the country’s most revolting spectacle: the annual feeding frenzy in which shoppers queue all night, then stampede into the shops, elbow, trample and sometimes fight to be the first to carry off some designer junk which will go into landfill before the sales next year. The madder the orgy, the greater the triumph of economic management.” 

What we’re seeing now is surely worse.  Corona virus stopped the money going round, and now Governments are desperate to get it going again.

In England the Government COVID-19 guidelines say _

‘you must only visit shops with people you live with or, if applicable, people in your support bubble and you should practise social distancing from other people at all times’

That’s what they say, but it’s not what they really want. They knew full well what would happen as soon as they let the shops open again, and they don’t care. If they did, then they’d have put a stop to the madness.

Only a few weeks ago they closed the parks and put police on the beaches when a few folks got too close together. It’s still forbidden to invite a few friends round for a BBQ. Yet it seems town centres and malls are exempt.

And let’s not kid ourselves that this thing is over. The virus is still spreading. There is still no vaccine, people are still dying.

Despite what they say, shopping is not a patriotic duty, and you can’t be conscripted to fight for consumerism.

How you spend your time and money is a fundamental freedom. And that choice should be made deliberately.

These last few months have given us all an opportunity to reset and recalibrate. Old habits die hard, but the Corona virus helped, it killed some of those habits for us.

Habitually buying crap we didn’t need was one of them.

Only zombies do that now.

The freedom to go where we like and to do what we want is precious. So let’s leave the crowded malls and standing in line to the zombies.

We’re experientalists, we’ve got better things to do.