Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Consumed With Consuming

Tell me, when did shopping become a pastime? The end itself rather than just the means. Honestly, what has happened to us? Where has all the living gone? When did we forfeit productivity for rampant, frivolous, wanton consumption. When did we stop doing things in lieu of simply buying things?

I am deeply troubled. Sickened, even.

Weekends once spent visiting, vacations once spent relaxing, afternoons once spent exploring, are all now spent aimlessly wandering the isles of Target, Old Navy or the Outlets, filling our carts, our houses, and our lives with mountains of completely unnecessary products.

It has become such a burden carrying around all of this stuff, and our lives are buckling under its weight. Am I the only one who feels it? This wet wool blanket of desperate consumerism.

Granted, I love my expansive collection of gorgeous things, don't get me wrong, and I will snarl, bite and scratch at anyone who dares to come near them. But, rarely do I find myself in a store without a specific purpose, and prefer a mad dash 'grab and get the hell out' kind of battle strategy to the more popular 'let's spend an hour and walk up and down every single isle' school of thought. I can do a weeks worth of grocery shopping in minutes.

And while I am guilty of wandering around kitchen stores from time to time, simply coveting their inventory, I do so only if and when I am in said store for the purpose of buying a specific item, which is to say not very often. And, moreover, baking is a pastime that I enjoy immensely and partake in often, and so I would categorize these items as utilitarian, at least within my own lifestyle. Maybe I'm just rationalizing.

Is it that we have become so alienated from the fruit of our labor that we unconsciously need to buy these things as proof of our hard work? I worked forty hours in a miserable job this week, but at least I have this (insert meaningless item here) to show for it, kind of thing? Since we no longer make things, we must buy them in order to feel the same sense of accomplishment?

I don't have the answers. But it seems to me that we should be more disgusted with this, and ourselves, than we seem to be. What is the solution? I'm not sure. Perhaps we should challenge ourselves to a week without purchasing anything, excepting gas and food. A whole week. Without buying. It seems simple enough. Right? Why should that be hard?

Will that be enough to slap us awake from this consumptive comma?

to be continued. . .

4 comments:

Cheyenne said...

oh jacob. are p & g running you ragged with their target marathons?

seriously, i agree with you entirely, and am guilty of the same mass consumption of which you speak. i actually become forlorn if i walk out of a store without a bag. you should look up the video called 'the story of stuff,' it really punctuates the point you're making.

glorious post, excellent point, i'm loving you more each day. wanna come to old navy with me?

B Kinch said...

The story of stuff here: http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Worth the watch.

Hennifer said...

I hear you... I want to get to that place. I think I'm kind of in the middle. I don't like shopping actually but I feel as if I should so I keep window shopping to prepare myself. For me it is food. I spend all this money on convenience food and where is the pleasure, there isn't any of course. So then I spend my money on kitchen gadgets that will make my food prep easier, supposedly, except the burden isn't in the prepping, its in the imagining. I do dream of a real, true, shopping spree splurge where I can buy all the things I need to make my house pretty, functional, personal and then be done. I can buy a full wardrome of "classic" items so never to reshop when styles change.

gabrielle said...

as you know, i'm totally guilty of this. shopping as sport. for me there's so much WINDOW SHOPPING too. like what's the point of going in there if you don't need anything, and you have no intention of buying anything? but you still go... walking for hours. looking. coveting. wanting. and either not getting anything or settling for something JUST so that you said you got something. clearance racks. impulse buys.

it's endlesssssssssssss!