I hopped off the train in Macclesfield unsure of where I was heading. Trusty google maps guided me to Macclesfield’s Treacle market. Living closer to Manchester’s city centre, I felt like I hadn’t been anywhere like this is ages and it got me thinking about where I want to spend my money and what on. Mirroring the 10s of market stalls were the likes of TKMAX, Costa Coffee and Debenhams.
What is it about us that makes us all love consuming so much? Why do we get such a thrill out of spending our hard-earned money on something unnecessary that we feel that we deserve?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the ease, convenience and low cost that these large chain stores provide, however there is something a little more satisfying about buying a unique, well-made and ethical product.
Whilst it may appear that I am still at the whim of capitalism as I was enjoying perusing round the Treacle Market, I felt it was more singular shopping experience than your average Sunday morning in Manchester’s Arndale or Trafford Centre.
In huge supermarkets and retail stores you’re confronted with an overwhelming amount of choice, and usually a worker who knows nothing about what you’re buying (and doesn’t care for that matter). These mainstream, glossy shops took a backseat on this fresh sunny morning. Behind every stand and stall was the creator, designer or antique finder of the items I saw in front of me. You could chat to the individuals involved in fashioning the homemade pie, Christmas decoration or cosy hoodie and find out exactly how it was made, where the items were sourced and who designed it.
I stumbled across the Inland Sea stand and was welcomed by the friendly face of Adam. I walked away with my first purchases from Inland Sea, a “Born in the City” t-shirt, and the “Sling Inland Sea Wave” bag.
Adam informed me that the t-shirt was made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled plastic bottles. My mind was blown that a t-shirt so soft was made in part by plastic bottles! If I am correct, 5% of the money from my purchase is to go to the Surfer’s Against Sewage – Plastic Free Coast Lines Campaign, who help people protect the coastlines they love! Below is a (oh so slightly awkward) picture of me wearing the weekend purchases!
The bag I learned was made from a combination of post-consumer recycled organic cotton and post-consumer polyester. I always keep a canvas style bag like this tucked in my rucksack, so I’m not caught out having to buy a new plastic one (1.75 billion single-use plastic bags were sold by UK retailers last year whaaaat!).
I think my point is that sometimes if you spend a little more, you get a whole lot more back. Although shopping should never just be about gratification, there is a wonderful feeling that comes from knowing your t-shirt hasn’t been mass produced somewhere in Asia, that is has minimal environmental damage, and stands for something I can believe in.
I will definitely be visiting the Treacle Market again!