What do you see out of your window today?

Shopping! Shopping! Shopping! Has it always been this way?

Nov 28 2021

Shopping! Shopping! Shopping! Has it always been this way?

Throughout history, shopping has been an experience full of mystery and adventure. From the first recorded retail transaction between a Sumerian cuneiform tablet in ancient Mesopotamia to the rise of online shopping today, the market is always changing. If you're curious about what people bought throughout time or how they purchased items before cash registers were invented from bartering and trading, to supermarkets and department stores, let's take a look at how shopping evolved.


The first shopping experience was when the hunter-gatherer went to find food


The first shopping experience was when the hunter-gatherer went to find food. The hunter-gatherer would then go into the forest and look for berries, fish, or any other edible plants. This food was then eaten in small quantities after being gathered. 


Farmers trading their crops for other goods

Farmers had to travel from one village to another and stay overnight at different villages before finally reaching their destination. This process was time-consuming and arduous, not forgetting the trouble of making different transactions along the way. This is an example of bartering. People traded one item for another, instead of using money. This was useful because people could trade things that they didn't need anymore for other items that they did need. The process of bartering goods with one another was much more complex. 

With the invention of money, people could buy things from a store or market stall 

Bartering began to decline during the industrial revolution as more people started using money to buy goods. The invention of money allowed people to circumvent these complex systems in favor of a more simplified system that only required the exchange of currency. The introduction of money made the process easier because it was no longer necessary for both parties to be interested in trading an item for goods. Money simplified the process by eliminating the need to find another person that was willing to trade their items for yours. On top of that, money allowed people to buy anything they wanted without having to look for something that other people were willing to barter. Bartering goods with one another was much more complex than simply exchanging currency for goods because it required not only finding someone who had what you wanted but also finding someone who wanted what you had. The introduction of money made the process much simpler by eliminating the need to find another person that was willing to trade their items for yours. 

Nowadays many people shop online which is convenient

The convenience of shopping online is necessary for certain types of people. A lot of people are too busy to get out and go to the store, some people do not have a car which makes it difficult for them to get around, while others who don't like dealing with crowds might come across while shopping. Some people are trying out new ways of shopping like purchasing groceries at drive-through windows or picking up clothes at your doorstep after ordering them online


The history of shopping has not always been what it is today. From the invention of bartering to the introduction of credit cards, there have been many stages in our evolution as shoppers. Shopping has been around for centuries and it's always changing. What do you think will be next? Will we see more people using digital wallets or cashless payment methods for their purchases? Are brick and mortar stores going extinct because everyone just shops online instead?


Shopping has changed so much in our lifetimes. The last 2 years alone have revolutionized the ways we shop. We’d love you to share what shopping is like where you live and how it has changed. Jot down your shopping memories and share them here.