How have shopping patterns changed over time? The way we have shopped for our necessities and our luxuries have changed over the last 200-300 years
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How have shopping patterns changed over time? The way we have shopped for our necessities and our luxuries have changed over the last 200-300 years. In the last 50 years, however, it has changed more rapidly then ever before in history. It may be useful to divide the last 250 years into smaller periods based on large changes in technology shopping and behaviour of people. Late middle ages : pre 1750 AD Before about 1750, people used to do very little shopping and so there were very few shops. Most people grew their own food and made there own farming implements. Except for a few blacksmiths, jewellers, medical services etc, there was very little or no formal trade. The reasons for this were because most people lived in an agricultural setting. These were small villages with subsistence farming. There were no large cities and the population was small. The advantages of this were that there was low air pollution, all food was organic, the people had lots of exercise and people would barter for trade more often than using money.
There were crowded conditions in the towns and this was unhygienic and unhealthy. There was also a lot of pollution coming from the factories and from concentrated populations. In this period we also see the introduction of child labour in sweat shops. This is the England described in the books of Charles Dickens. Travel becomes easier : approx 1900-1980 AD This major change happened from approximately 1900 and travel continued to get easier until about 1980. The car had just been invented and people began escaping the congested cities to live in the areas near the city but beyond the CBD: the "suburb" was born. Satellite towns had developed around large cities and there were now "high streets". Supermarkets and then hypermarkets appeared. There was now convenience shopping, and large, out-of-town shopping centres arose in the suburbs. All this happened basically because vehicles allowed people to escape the crowded cities and settle out in the suburbs where it was more peaceful and cleaner. To and from the city became much easier because public transport (buses and trains)
They also have a wide range of activities and games they can play. They can have fun. The disadvantages for internet shopping are that there is a more impersonal relationship with the seller. People don't get to see, and touch, and try out their clothes and other products. There is the possibility of fraud when paying on-line. The disadvantages of malls are that there is still an impersonal relationship. Also, malls can become a focus point for rowdy youths. E.g. recently, the "Bluewater " shopping centre in Kent had to ban youths wearing hooded jackets with caps as these were being used to conceal their identities while behaving anti-socially. Whilst these methods suits younger people, the older generation find it difficult to handle computers and other new electronic gadgets. The older people miss the way of life in their youth and the relationship they enjoyed having with their "butcher, baker and candlestick maker". The changes described in the essay above since the early part of the industrial revolution are clearly visible if we look at pictures and descriptions of shopping areas and shopping behaviour from the past 100 or so years.
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