I am not particularly discerning.
I am the sort of person who dreams of a chic capsule wardrobe, but then can’t resist the lure of Primark. I am vulnerable to costume jewellery. I have a weakness for Pop Tarts.
And, actually, I’m quite proud of that. Some of the best things in life are – if not free – cheap, readily-available, and made of brightly-coloured plastic. I find all the fuss about this vintage of wine, and that limited-edition handbag a bit dull. Too often, it seems to me that people are trumpeting how much they’ve paid, rather than how good their purchase actually is.
Discernment, traditionally, has been a learned system of knowledge that denoted power and social class. It was about knowing the right names and the right places, whilst carefully maintaining an air of refinement and exclusivity.
I find that kind of discernment entirely boring: it’s dusty, closed and snobbish. I’m interested in a different, more contemporary kind of discernment.
Unlike our grandparents, or even our parents, we are now flooded with choice. We go to the supermarket and choose from twenty different types of potato; we need a pair of shoes and are faced with dozens of retailers, both online and on the high street, offering unfathomable choice at every price point. We are, quite simply, overwhelmed by abundance.
Does all this choice mean that we have better things? No. It means that we own thirty frocks and still feel we have nothing to wear; or we buy ready meals because we can’t understand the ingredients on offer. We make poor decisions, in bulk. We think we’re reeling in the bargains, but actually we’re wasting money in terrifying quantities on junk we don’t even like.
That’s the purpose of this blog. It’s not a lifestyle guide. It’s not about individual products. It’s about learning to develop the skills to make better choices, so that we can find our way through this great jungle of abundance.
And, crucially, it’s about enjoying the good things in life, rather than competing over who knows the most about them. Because that just misses the point, doesn’t it?0