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Chain Shopping
by Zachary Kaplan
Zachary Kaplan, a novelist and screenwriter. Since 2002, he has written a weekly movie review for the The Link News of Long Branch New Jersey.

Chain Shopping

We are consumers. I don’t mean in the food chain sense of the word. Although the statement rings true for that as well. I am referring to society’s inclination to own tons of miscellaneous odds and ends. I’m not knocking materialism. I love my Ipod and my computer and my silk socks and my Egyptian cotton sleeping mask. There is so much stuff out there that it is difficult not to want it all. I don’t know what a network switch does, but I want one. Badly. I was walking down the street last week and much to my disbelief and complete surprise, there was a homeless man with a cell phone and better sneakers than the ones that I own. He may have had a blue tooth headset on, or he was just talking to himself.

As consumers we need plenty of places to seek our next fix. With the Internet, we can buy stuff at three in the morning. Anything we want. We are no longer limited to what is being sold on channel 17. We don’t have to buy a 12 piece spatula set and we don’t have to act now for a limited time to get a free vegetable steamer or vinyl goo to fix the tears in leather sofas. The world is our oyster and at any time we can have a piggy bank shaped like Johnny Depp sent to our residence.

Besides the virtual super highway, there are stores and store and more stores, everywhere you turn. With in five minutes of everyone in the USA, there is a Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond (or Linens and Things), Starbucks, and Costco. Doors open early and they close late. The shopping window is so gigantic that an elephant could jump through it without having to worry about brushing its hips against the sides. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, isn’t even a nightmare anymore. There are so many stores, that it’s hard to fill them up with people. They are all hiring and there is not an employee out there who does not mention, “I get minimum wage, but the employee discount is 25% off.” An incentive to dump your paycheck back into the store.

Our proclivity to accumulate has made us sedentary grazers. The only reason people hate moving is because packing up one’s possessions is a hassle and a half. Scan any room and it may not seem too bad, but if you had to place effort into packing it up and moving it, you would get a nosebleed. Every nook and cranny. Every crack and crevice. We have filled our lives with stuff and now we can’t stop. According to marketing and advertising, the computer that I am typing on right now is becoming obsolete with each key stroke and mouse click. I long for a simpler time, but I can’t give up my espresso machine or my mp3 player that looks like cd player that looks like a record player. I just can’t. I won’t.

Published: Aug 26,2008 11:39
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