Monday, May 30, 2005

Shopping Alternatives

Alternative shopping

The fact that you and I realise that shopping sucks matters not a toss, for many others it has become the most important human activity in the Western World. A new and vibrant religion full of rich experiences, triumphs, tragedies, exercises of faith and the heavenly reward of purchasing those perfect items and taking them home. No other worldly pursuit should get in the way of an enlightening shopping trip and the magic feelings of belonging, and wellbeing it produces. The small matters of greed, exploitation, tasteless consumerism and debt are of course of little significance. To think too long and hard on these dour matters is a sin in itself.

So bored as I am with my pathetic attempts to shop every few days in the paved and tarmac wonderland that is the local retail park, I have come up with a viable alternative to the regular mundane and dull shopping experience. The first big change is that you park your car in a bay that relates to the amount of money you wish to spend. £5, £10, £20, £50, £100 and so on. The bays are all signed in blocks with the appropriate amounts on display. This denotes how much cash you must spend, or get close to. You park up, grab a cart or basket and as your mood dictates in a random and carefree manner collect anything and everything from the shelves. There is no stress or concern about finding the correct item, just collect what you will as long as it adds up to the amount on the parking bay. This process alone will revive the lost art of mental arithmetic and increase the nation’s IQ by a few %.

Take your stuff to the checkout and pay for it, happily chat to the checkout person and hump all the shopping into bags or whatever. Return to your car with your stuff and await the arrival of the next person from the store*, in your parking area and (wait for it) swap shopping. If all has gone well they will have spent the same amount as you so you’ve lost no money, (you may lose or gain a little over time but that’s part of the fun).

Thank them kindly for their efforts and put the swapped shopping into your car and drive home feeling smug and perhaps a little uneasy. When you get home you can unpack at your leisure and enjoy the shock, awe and surprise of seeing the fantastic items you now own. You can wonder at and admire them and then by thinking creatively merge them into your needs for the day. The possibilities are endless as are the subsequent likely arguments, recriminations, laughs and discussions you and your partner will have. Then think of all the surprise meals, food and drink combinations, CDs and books, clothing, washing and sanitary products you now have. Instead of being in a domestic rut you will have a new line of groceries and products to share and admire, all of which you may enjoy as will the other lucky shopper who took your choices home.

So no need for lists, concentration, the pain of omitting things, buying the wrong size pack, forgetting what you were in the shop for in the first place etc. Shopping has now become an exercise of pure faith and you can be there, living slap bang back on the edge – a new religion is born and a super new way of life for you.

*This could be tough if it’s raining but then rain is not so bad and we’re all a bit over preoccupied with the weather anyway.

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