Words by Rume Otuguor
Beauty to your door
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Refills of your must-have make-up and skincare products delivered to your door without even having to step a foot out of the house. Sounds almost too good to be true. Yet Boots have teamed up with Deliveroo to turn your wishful beauty dreams into a tangible reality.
The news broke in August 2021 that Deliveroo and the UK’s largest pharmacy chain, Boots, would be collaborating to provide an on-demand delivery service to people’s homes. The trial run in 14 cities is well underway, with a range of 400 products to choose from. This coalition comes at a time when individuals globally are still suffering from the aftereffects of the ongoing pandemic. As such, the primary focus of this scheme is to deliver medicines for minor sicknesses as well as hygiene, make-up and baby products in a timely fashion to those in need. Even snacks can be ordered from this service!
If we’ve learned anything from lockdown, it’s how quick and easy it is to get anything from food to 1000-piece puzzles delivered to your doorstep. Quite frankly, we had no other choice; it was either dying from insufferable boredom or piling our Amazon baskets sky-high- courtesy of the governments’ furlough scheme. Since we’ve been let out, the days of hoarding loo roll are over, and we can get back to standing in queues- Britain’s weirdest guilty pleasure- and swatching every shade of concealer under the sun just because we can. Yet the news of Boots x Deliveroo is a sly calling to return to the idle 2020 lifestyle, wave the magic cursor and receive our items in sometimes less than 20 minutes! It’s made even more enticing knowing that one of my local Boots is enlisted for this pilot scheme. So, this begs the question, will I be making use of this service?… Most likely not, for reasons concerning the topic of overconsumption.
Overconsumption is a term used to describe the exorbitant use of materials at a rate that outpaces the world’s natural resources. As reported by The European Parliament, the fashion industry alone is culpable for 20% of clean water pollution by synthetic dyes. Oh, and that cotton shirt you have on is estimated to have used one person’s drinking water for 2.5 years. To recognise that I have a lifetimes sustenance hanging in the darkness of my wardrobe is chilling. With the ongoing ecological crisis and Cop26 drawing closer, the overconsumption debate has never taken such precedence as it does today. Despite multiple lockdowns forcing us to reassess what matters most to us, our obsession with material possessions did not dwindle. The Chinese online retailer Shein collected $10 billion during Covid’s primacy, exceeding cult favourites like Zara and Boohoo. A recent Guardian article holds Gen Z to account. On the one hand, as the article states: How can we claim to be ecologically woke but rapidly consume fast fashion? But on the flip side: How can the Prime Minister urge us to “eat out to help out” when the world has been issued a climate code red?
Despite the constant warnings that our unhealthy consumerist habits are outpacing the earth’s ability to keep up, we show no signs of slowing down. One could look to the increased presence of social media in our lives to explain this imbalance. Instagram quickly transformed from an app for intimate photo sharing to a carousel of fleeting fashion trends and status symbols. It also facilitated the seismic rise of the influencer, whose job prospers by advertising continuous reinvention to their followers. The popularity of Instagram influencing has encouraged a culture of disposability which, in turn, brands repeating the same outfit a major fashion faux pas. Third-party cookies are another culprit. When researching for this article, a flurry of ASOS ads popped up unprovoked on unrelated sites. They were of jumpers I had recently viewed and was debating on whether to purchase. I clicked on it and was whisked to the ASOS site in seconds. I lusted over it. I flirted with the checkout button for a while, but, dear reader, you’d be pleased to know that I fought the demons of impulse buying and triumphed. That being said, none of us are above the frivolous spending on items that we could certainly live without.
As individuals, we can cut back on retail therapy and incorporate Meatless Mondays, but big co-operations must also take responsibility. Despite the Boots x Deliveroo alliance posturing as an efficient idea, it seems unnecessary and opportunistic. It feeds our consumerist appetites for instant gratification when in reality, we can pop to our local if we find ourselves in desperate situations. The online service already in place on their website provides the option for click and collect or home delivery which usually arrives in less than a week. Twenty minutes vs seven days? The winner here is clear to see, but if it means waiting slightly longer, indeed, it’s a small sacrifice we can make for the greater good of our planet.
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