Want shopping, will travel

Being an astute observer of urban life people quite often baffle me. I have the fortune or misfortune of living in a tourist destination. It seems like an immutable law or cycle that what makes cities livable very often also makes them attractive to tourists. And this again makes them a bit less attractive for those already living there. At least in Europe broadly speaking. And no one really visits or moves to Duisburg are they? All this means I have the privilege of being able to observe (bus)loads of tourists.

As I wrote in my last post the city mostly caters to tourists with lots of shops, bars, restaurant and cafes amending the obvious tourist attractions of Potsdam, that is castles. I get it. As a tourist you want to eat and have a coffee or a nice glass of wine in the evening. I too like sitting outside for dinner and soak up the urban atmosphere, maybe meet with friends. But shopping. Why shopping? Why would anyone travel anywhere to buy “stuff”.

Today’s already very materialistic world can get you almost any good to your doorsteps on the next day with Amazon Prime. It is a rare good that you can only purchase in a specific location and nowhere else. Almost everything can be ordered and shipped to almost anywhere. Most shops offer apparel, tourist paraphernalia, books, cosmetics or jewellery. Next to a bunch of cheap bag outlets and the usual stores for locals like drugstores, supermarkets and so on.

Then why do I see people taking a trip to Potsdam, spend a decent amount of money on hotels just to go shopping? What a colossal waste of time. But maybe these people simply do not know better. They need to fill the hours of their days with some kind of activity. And sure buying things will give you a little dopamine jolt.

Potsdam is a beautiful city full or art, history, nature and architecture. One could spend a whole day exploring the parks and learning about the history and meaning of so many sculptures, paintings and buildings. But it seems that the rich tapestry that has been built over hundreds of years is now more less or less only used as a lure to get people into the city so that they can spend their money on a new blouse, a cheap handbag or overpriced porcelain (like this reasonably priced coffee cup).

Sometimes I image that people would visit the city for itself and eschew senseless shopping. It would be interesting to see the change.