Retail runaround


Tonight, I was reminded again about the joys of shopping.

All zero of them.


I like finding bargains, especially in the uncrowded, open-all-night, traffic-free land of the Internet. Most times, I barely tolerate shopping, even if it’s something gadgety for myself.

And if I’m being dragged along, I will be the most miserable bastard you ever met.

While I’ve learned to curb my rougher edges during these retail sessions, I find the whole exercise to be utterly pointless. I don’t care what you’re buying, how much you’re saving, how cute it is.

I don’t care about stuff for me, so I can hardly be bothered to work up any enthusiasm for your purchases.

I’m generally an even-tempered guy, but put me in a mall for hours and I sulk to no end. I can’t help it. Your shopping trip equals my misery.

It doesn’t even matter if we’re shopping for me, or we’re in a store I like. I read someone describe her time working retail thusly: “I quickly found that there was nothing gratifying about helping people spend money, and I wanted to do something that would really help people.”

Our family business was retail. I worked it. I hated it.

Don’t read too much into that. I consider myself fortunate enough to have discovered early on that the grind of retail was not a good fit for me.

Each time I set foot in a store, a supermarket or mall, I’m reminded of how much I dislike both sides of the transaction. Lloyd Dobler, “Say Anything”:

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed; or process anything sold, bought or processed; or repair anything sold, bought or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

The moment I begin to shop, I know I could be doing anything else at that moment. Something fun, something carefree, something not trapping me in a place that wants me to drop money by the fistful.

Capitalism is good, up to a point. Consumerism is horrible. And my participation is always under protest.


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