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Online Shopping, Where Do We Stand?

It's been almost 3 years since my last post, but recently I've been thinking about my little space on the internet and how much I've missed sharing my thoughts. A lot has changed, I'm still in Manchester, still spending an hour in the morning debating which lipstick choose, still wondering why I can't nail a DIY blow-dry. But the world is changing and I think we should be talking about it.

I like to think I'm not the only one waking up to an inbox packed full of promotional emails. I lie to myself, saying 'I'll only take a quick peek'. The next thing you know, 2 hours have passed and I've got a basket full of things I don't need, eagerly entering the code HOMEPARTY20.

Should we feel guilty?

As a 'shop girl' who's income fully relies on consumerism, I know that these retailers will only be able to survive if we continue to spend. We've got to keep lusting over slingback heels and coveting plush leather clutch bags. Or it's going to be make-or-break for some of these businesses.

The Centre for Retail Research has forecasted that a whopping 20,622 stores will permanently close, which would be a rise of 28% compared with 2019. And job losses, 235,704. That's 92k more than last year. After the UK lockdown, unfortunately, some stores will never reopen.

But with hundreds of thousands of us either working from home or furloughed, businesses are banking on us using online shopping as our new go-to.

This is what happened to me the other day, I got one of these discount code emails and my mind did this. The store will be closed, it's a listed building, I hope they're paying their staff, I'll get a few bits, I'll be kicking myself once the discount has ended, just get them now, they might need my sale. Should I feel this sense of responsibility to help to keep my favorite stores open?

Where do we draw the line?

I am so very fortunate to be at home, safe. But some are still expected to go to work. The warehouse workers, the delivery drivers, the postmen. I hadn't taken them into consideration until Net-a-Porter made the announcement that it will be closing it's distribution centers worldwide, "for the health and safety among the community".

And here in the UK, employees at Matalan distribution centers have been offered the option to be placed on furlough after some had complained that they were "being forced to continue to work in cramped, overcrowded conditions". Matalan later released a statement saying that their sites were deemed safe to work by environmental health.

I struggle with how to respond. Do I continue to shop as I normally would, to protect delivery staff? As and when I needed something? Or do I support those businesses who clearly need a helping hand? Shop ahead for birthdays and take advantage of discounts because I'll probably want a new necklace soon anyway?

Personally, I think it's a bit of both. We should be educating ourselves on the treatment of staff. Do these businesses deserve our hard earnt cash? After Philip Green sent arcadia staff home without pay, I vowed not to give him a single penny until the stores reopen and staff are being paid again. I've also opted to support smaller brands, buying directly instead of through giants like ASOS who no doubt take a large percentage of every sale.

Who knows how we're going to come out on the other side? I only hope that those working have been treated fairly, that people continue to shop as they normally would (where possible) and of course, that I still have a job to go back to.

What do you think? Have you noticed a change in your shopping habits? Or been taking advantage of the heavy discounting that we're seeing? Let me know!

Gem x

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