In The Urge to Splurge, Laura Byrne Paquet traces the cultural history of shopping from the ancient world to the twentieth century. She discusses how Roman efficiency and transport infrastructure made the template for modern trade routes and created a desire for exotic fashion and spices. The desire for spices and other luxuries discovered in more recent times such as tea, coffee, and chocolate continued to feed and grow these needs until the modern era.
Likewise, modern shopping concepts such as malls were anticipated by the Roman Forum and the design of middle eastern souks which allowed shoppers to walk between different stalls whatever the weather. Although the book doesn’t discuss e-commerce in any detail, the history of direct selling and the origins of catalogues provides insights into where this trend may go.
Anyone interested in cultural history and shopping habits will enjoy this book.