Let Leaping Dogs Fly

Woman, mother, scientist, wife, human. I post occasionally about any and all of these things. Whatever strikes my fancy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Point of View

Yesterday we made our biannual excursion to Opry Mills, where I was overstimulated and stressed to the point that it took me 3 hours to get to sleep after I went to bed last night. The sights! The sounds! The people who walk slower than legless tortoises! The endless maze of stuff-I-don't-need- yet-feel-strangely-compelled-to-buy! Have I mentioned how impatient I get behind those slow-movers? Have I also mentioned that I don't "shop" like a normal person (whatever that is...)? If I have need of a particular thing, obviously the first thing I do is try to find something like it that I already own. If I don't have anything that fits the bill, I'll try the local thrift shops, or Freecycle, or Craigslist. If I
still can't find it, I might consider buying a new one, but not at full price, and not from a brick-and-mortar store if I can help it. There are people in those stores, and heaven forbid I have to deal with one of those. They want me to buy stuff, and hard as I try I can't remain immune to the "buying fever" pheromone that all those other shoppers release as they ring up their purchases. My fingers get itchy and I start playing out justification scenarios in my head, and before you know it I'm considering that $100 pair of shoes and some new pants, because the 12 pairs of pants I already own just aren't good enough anymore dammit. At least I'm to the point that I know that I'm vulnerable, and I can stop myself before I make any purchases. It took me a few years to move from wanton spender to thoughful saver and I had lots of help along the way, but these trips to the mall make me want to take a big clue-stick and hit people to open their eyes about their spending habits.

Mike's a little more consumerist, although I have slowly, slowly begun to convince him that having a budget and saving money don't automatically qualify him for membership in the 'no-fun stick in the mud' club.

A perfect example of the difference in Mike's and my viewpoints came as we walked through our 3rd sporting goods store of the day and came to the Kayak display.

Mike: Ooh, someday I'd like to have one of those! (referring to a $2000 fiberglass kayak)
Me: (Referring to the recorded birdsong on the store audio) Someday I'd like to live where I can hear this all the time, then we wouldn't have to come to the store...

The mall reminds me, first and foremost, of why I hate shopping. Too many people, too much noise. The energy is so discordant. It also makes me ineffably sad to see so many people buying so much junk they don't need with money they don't have. Who are we as a culture that this activity "shopping" has become a pastime? I have trouble imagining historians lauding this as the greatest economic innovation of our post-industrial civilization, but we certainly aren't doing much else to keep money moving through the economy. It doesn't bode well for my generation's wealth-building and future economic security.


  • At 2/05/2006 10:38:00 PM, Anonymous Mike said…

    Well, all I can say is that the kayak is unlikely to keep me awake chirping outside my window at 2am.

    On a side note, I can't wait to see you when I can get you to go to a dive shop with me! ;)


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