“To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish”

― Arthur Schopenhauer


Shopping Mall as Cougar, Me as Prey!


I heard a story the other day about a cougar taking down a moose. No easy feat, as a moose is huge and feisty. But the cougar is wily. He begins by assessing his prey as he stalks the herd, and when confident of success, he pounces, unexpectedly, when his chosen prey is vulnerable. I’ve come to accept that predators track, kill and devour their prey in the wilds of nature, but this shouldn’t happen to humans in a Shopping Mall. But it did to me! Within 7 seconds of entering a fancy Calgary Mall, my self-esteem was captured, killed and devoured. Contentedly on a mission to replace my daughter’s designer doorknob, I walked through the Mall doors into a mythical world of airbrushed perfection. Glistening floors, subtle notes from a string quartet, pastel shades of coral, turquoise and azure, and an unidentifiable, but alluring scent…Oh yes baby… the sweet smell of success! Errand forgotten, I found myself salivating over purses I did not need, and shoes that would not fit, and dresses designed exclusively for mannequins.  

Shopping Mall as Black Hole – Beautiful But Deadly

A Black Hole is a place in space whose gravitational pull is so great that even light, once seized by its magnetism, cannot escape. Shopping Malls have a similar effect on the light in my soul. Chinook Mall’s ‘high-end’ area, pulled the light from my day and in seconds I had descended into the dark hell of inadequacy. Catching a glimpse of myself in one of the many reflective surfaces, I suddenly felt dowdy, dated, dingy and drab. How did this happen? I was content when I drove up to the mall, happily doing something for someone else, in the hopes of brightening their day! Within seconds I felt derelict and dilapidated and became bewitched by the belief that new clothes, shoes, make-up, perfume, etc., would bring the light back into my life.

Feelings of Inadequacy Create Envy and Schadenfreude(the experience of malicious joy at someone’s misfortune)

As I glanced around at my fellow shoppers, I felt 2 of my least favourite emotions…envy followed by schadenfreude. Both emotions are triggered by an internalized voice of judgement…” You are not good enough. Look around the store and see for yourself.” And there she was…the woman who had life easy because she was graced with beauty…and I felt such envy. And as this emotion of envy activated the physical pain nodes in my brain’s cortex, my balancing system sought a positive experience. Unfortunately, when in the darkness of low self-esteem, this positive experience came at the expense of another…this is schadenfreude. My gaze was drawn towards a person whom I judged unattractive and I felt superior. This gave me a self-affirming, but inauthentic, ego boost. 

Applied Predictive Analysis- How Retailers Maximize Profit

Our behaviour is studied and tested while we shop. When we enter a store, cameras may be following our movements(body and eyeball). Our choices are then analyzed to determine the impact of product placement, product promotion, store temperature, number of sales staff etc. Studies have shown that:

1. Impulse shopping occurs due to influences outside of one’s conscious awareness(store ambience, advertising imagery), rather than a conscious calculation of need versus resources.

2. Low self-esteem is known to be a predictor of impulse shopping.

3. Impulse shoppers increase profits dramatically.

Through extensive and expensive analysis, retailers work to create an atmosphere of competition, winners and losers, the haves and the have-nots. Because of the vast array of materialism on display, occasionally everyone feels like a ‘have-not.’ If the Mall has done its job properly, inevitably there will be a product you are convinced you must own…



Rising Above the Heartlessness of Human Weakness

My Breath is Your Breath

I left the Mall at this point, disgruntled with myself. How had I succumbed to the manipulations of Mall Marketers so easily? As I sat in my car I was reminded of a meditation by Deepak Chopra, where I first came to believe that the physical realm, which we experience through our senses, gives us the illusion of separateness. I am here and you are there…separate from me. But the latest discoveries in Quantum Physics disprove this perception. We do not have the physical ability to see how humans are one entity, no more than we have the ability to see electricity move along a wire, or sound travel, or how ‘The Google” works. Realizing, though, that the air in my lungs today, may be the air in your lungs tomorrow, is a lovely illustration of connectedness. 

Aspirations for Week 40 of 52 

Shopping Marketer as Predator – Consumer as Prey

In my efforts to become more conscious, as The Other Woman Blogger, I realize I still have negative thoughts and emotions. But now I see that through the process of honest disclosure I can find a path to peace, interspersed with moments of Spiritual Bliss! By taking Step 1, admitting the truth, I improve my life and the lives of those I encounter.

In an ideal world, the notion of competition would be absent. We would buy what we needed for survival, attempting to ensure all 7 billion, interconnected humans, had just enough.