While psychologists try to explain the UK riots, as an Environmental
Psychology student I was particularly interested in what kind of shops the
looters were robbing. What choices were they making as consumers?
Not good ones, apparently. To quote one reporter, they are a mob and a mob
with bad taste – since the shops they concentrated on looting were Primemark
Not only that, but in Clapham Junction, London, where almost all the shops
in the high street were looted, one was left untouched by rioters –
Waterstones bookshop (according to Zoe Williams in The Guardian). Are these
looters unable to read?
Some have said that a large number of youngsters were involved in these
riots because it was the school holidays, the nights are longer, and they
were doing it for the buzz. Is the implication that if they had only been
able to get hold of a gripping book, they might have kept out of trouble?
To give the looters the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are digital readers
with free Kindle apps downloaded to their BlackBerries (did they remember to
nick Blackberries and iPads?). Or maybe at this very moment they are reading
ebooks such as Frickonomics, or Malcolm Gladwell’s latest or bestselling
summaries such as Passing Time in the Loo or even our own Spd Rdng – the
Speed Reading Bible.
Hmm. I somehow doubt that. But at least they were not into burning books.