Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thus We Shop

Black Friday is over and retail sales were up 3% over last year. Despite the frightening economy, the home mortgage crisis, and widespread unemployment, we still went shopping. We have to shop, we are indoctrinated to shop--we have become a nation of shoppers. We shop online and in person. We shop every hour of every day. Sometimes we stand in line for hours or camp outside of stores all night waiting for the doors to open. Our economy is depending on us to shop our way out of the mess we’re in. And what do we shop for? The same junk we look at every day, only maybe this time at a discount.

When you travel around the country, you find the same stores every five or ten miles in the same mall layouts. What is so special about that? What can we possibly discover that makes all this shopping worth it? The chains have driven the really interesting, unique stores out of business so all that’s left is the same stuff you see everywhere.

“Only 25 days left until Christmas”

“Make us your Holiday Headquarters”

“See our weekly ad . . .our daily ad . . .our hourly ad”

“Only two days left at this incredible price”

“Free gift” “Free shipping” “No interest or payment for 2 years”

“Amazing deals”

“Absolutely everything on sale”

And last, but by no means least, we trample over people and stomp them to death to get to a piece of junk made in China by workers who make about 40 cents an hour. The poor soul on Long Island who opened the doors to hoards of WalMart bargain hunters on Friday was trampled to death by people who ran right over his dead body and then complained when the store was emptied out and closed down after the discovery. There’s the Christmas spirit, folks! If we can’t do better than this, we have far greater problems in this country than the economy.

1 comment:

Sue Jacquette said...

I know, it's so hard to keep the spirit of giving in your Christmas intentions when we're in such a consumer society. I used to be in retail and hated the idea of it, the idea that my life's work was to get people to buy the new Elmo doll. I couldn't take it anymore so I quit, but I still do shop all December long and buy, buy, buy. Every year I try to tell the family to make gifts or only buy things that we can do together, but it's difficult to enforce. Let's just hope our charity work balances out our greed.