Howard Saunders   Sep 15, 2021   Future, me age, Retail, shopping, smartphone, Uncategorized   0 Comment

I may sound arrogant but since everything turned upside down in early 2020 I’ve learnt so much more about who and what I am, so I’ve decided to be more honest with myself, as well as with those around me. 

Everything has changed, there’s no doubt about that, and lockdowns really made us re-evaluate our priorities. For example, I’m lucky that I can work from home, so I was able to enjoy more time with my family and get to know my local area for once. I enjoyed having stuff delivered to be honest. Some days I had so many deliveries it felt like it was Christmas as I’d forgotten what I’d ordered most of the time. (Good job delivery drivers and supermarket staff can’t work from home though, haha!). I do enjoy my work, but I must say, it’s been nice not having to get up at 6am every morning. There’s no way I’ll go back to doing that every day.

So yes, it’s fair to say I’ve changed considerably and have a much better understanding of what life is really about, and how I compare with others.


It’s not like I went to school wearing a top hat or anything but I like to think I had a decent enough education. My Comp was ok I guess, but I did have a great group of friends and they teach you everything you need to know in terms of how to survive normal life, so I’ve always felt pretty well prepared. To be honest, I find the sort of people who’ve had a so-called ‘proper’ education pretty hopeless when it comes to real life, don’t you think?

Social Media

I use it every day yes, but I don’t post my every waking moment on Facebook or Instagram, that’s for sure.  And I certainly wouldn’t say I’m addicted. I only really use it to keep in touch with old friends, from school and that. Some of them, literally, post every blinking meal and every time they step out the front door, and I hardly ever do that! Oh, and my TikTok videos are just for laughs really, although I do get quite a few likes.


I’m not fanatical about it but I do try different diets on and off, like cutting down on meat or sugar for a bit. I’m pretty good at sticking to the rules, mostly, but when I go out with my friends, like on a Friday night after work, all that good intention goes out the window, I’m afraid. But I work hard, so I think that’s fair enough. I’m definitely not sedentary all day so I’m reasonably fit I reckon, although I do have a weakness for carbs. I do love my pasta. If pressed I’d say I was an ‘everything in moderation’ type. That’s pretty good isn’t it?

The Pandemic

I’m sick of hearing about it to be honest but it was scary, certainly at the beginning. Last year I used to pass the shopping to Dad on the end of a broom handle for god’s sake! But you can’t go on like that forever can you? I wouldn’t say I was terrified but it certainly was worrying. Still is! I do wear a mask when I have to, because like Tesco says ‘every little helps!’ Some of the rules do seem crazy though, like it’s ok to take it off when you’re sitting in a restaurant but not when you go to the loo. I’m sure those in charge know what they’re doing though, don’t they?

It  was shocking to see those pictures though. The hordes of people on the beaches, at the football and those festivals, none of them wearing a mask! Ridiculous at a time like this. I mean, I enjoy a good time along with the best of them, but I guess some people are just born irresponsible.

The Environment

Yes, it’s very worrying. It’s obvious something has to be done, isn’t it? I mean, something’s changing what with all those fires in Greece and California and everywhere. Seems like there’s extreme weather events happening somewhere every day now. And yes, I accept I might have to pay more tax, if it will help. But frankly, if the super rich just paid their fair share, instead of hiding it away in all these offshore banks, that would be probably solve it, wouldn’t it? I mean, they’re flying all over the place in their private planes and stuff and yet, you wait, it’ll be ordinary, hard working people like me who’ll have to foot the bill. Pay your fair share, that’s all I ask.

All in all I think I do my bit, certainly more than most. I recycle everything possible, and wash everything before it goes in the blue bin, which is more than most people. I use those hessian carrier bags as often as I can and try and buy the most sustainable things at the supermarket. Local produce whenever it’s available, but it’s not always easy. 

Too many people out there openly throw their rubbish on the street like they don’t give a damn. Incredible really, but some people actually leave their old mattresses and fridges up by the heath, believe it or not. It’s completely unacceptable, frankly. Disgusting actually. Something should be done about it.

I love nature and always feel properly recharged when I get out into the country. It’s a very special feeling that’s hard to explain so I can’t really believe what humans are doing to this planet, to be honest. That’s what my tattoo is trying to say I suppose: my emotional connection to Mother Nature, if you like. No, I’m definitely not religious though I would consider myself much more spiritual than I used to be. There’s so much we don’t know about, don’t you think?


When we go out, yes if I’m honest, I want to be treated with respect. I mean I work hard for my money and wherever I decide to spend it, whether it’s in a restaurant or a clothes shop, then I want to be treated like it really matters, not like I’m just another customer. Especially when I’ve been before. They should welcome you back properly and be grateful for your business, don’t you reckon?

The Future

I don’t think things will go back to normal for quite a while yet. When they do I’ll definitely be going on holiday…masked up if I have to! All in all I think I’m pretty lucky. I don’t do the lottery very often but if I did win I’d spend the money wisely, not like most of them you read about. I’m not being funny, but I definitely think I have some hidden talents, as yet untapped haha! Time will tell, I suppose. 

I do like the idea of having children someday, but I don’t think it’s fair to bring kids into this messed up world at the moment, so we probably won’t. You don’t need to be stuck in a traffic jam or travel on the tube at rush hour many times before you realise there’s simply too many of us on this planet, for god’s sake. Some people are still having, like, five kids and it’s not a good look is it? You know what I mean?


Yes, all things considered I think I am probably better than most people. I don’t mean to sound big headed or anything but I’m probably more hard working, a bit more thoughtful, more balanced perhaps than most people I know. Just being honest.

I am everyman and everywoman. I am your neighbour, your work colleague, the shop assistant you just thanked and even that couple standing at the bar over there. I am a brand new blend of caution and entitlement. I am the masked narcissist, your preening, dancing, digitally distanced TikToker. I am the strange lovechild of Homo-Trepidatious and Homo-Narcissus. I am the vast majority of your customers…and your staff. You’ll be getting to know me very well indeed as I intend to stick around for the rest of this decade at least. Catch you later!

Now that we’ve established that I’m better than you, please follow me on Twitter @retailfuturist for daily insights and musings.

About Howard Saunders

The Retail Futurist, otherwise known as Howard Saunders, is a writer and speaker whose job it is to see beyond retail’s currently choppy waters. Howard spent the first twenty five years of his career at some of London’s most renowned retail design agencies, including Fitch & Company, where he created concepts, strategies and identities for dozens of British high street brands. In 2003 he founded trend-hunting agency, Echochamber, inspiring his clients with new and innovative store designs from across the globe. Howard relocated to New York in 2012 where the energetic regeneration of Brooklyn inspired his book, Brooklynization, published in 2017. His newfound role as champion for retail’s future in our town and city centres gave rise to the title The Retail Futurist. Howard has been interviewed on numerous television and radio programs and podcasts for BBC Radio 4, BBC Scotland, the British Retail Consortium, Sky News Australia and TVNZ, New Zealand. His talks are hi-energy, jargon-free journeys that explore the exciting, if not terrifying, retail landscape that lies ahead. When not in retail mode, Howard has recorded, literally, thousands of digital music masterpieces, most of which remain, thankfully, unheard.

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