I am a full, card-carrying member of the consumer society in 21st century America; as evidenced by my self-absorbed blog, my shiny MacBook Pro, and the 50 inch plasma screen in my living room.
But even I am disgusted by the way our actions reflect on us, by the way we must look to people around the world who have to fight for a bowl of rice or dirty water as we fat Americans fight over… shoes.
A throng of angry shoppers briefly held a store at the Tanger Outlet Center under siege early Friday morning, as two men fought over a pair of shoes — and the intervention of officers from the Riverhead Police Department was needed to restore control.
Thousands lined up to be one of the first 500 hundred people to receive a gift bag.
The crowd was so large mall officials called in Boise Police to handle crowd control. As thousands of people tried to cram their way through the front doors, many were scraped and bruised as people pushed to get in.
Mall security officials say some doors were broken, and some people got hurt.
Mall officials tell us Boise Police were there most of the day. They even called in ambulances and firefighters to deal with the crowds.
How did we get to this point, this society that exists only to consume, the economy based on nothing in particular other than our propensity to shop? We work harder and harder, making nothing in particular but instead making our money in service industries designed to serve people who are shopping with the money they made by servicing people shopping, or by selling advertising on every part of our landscape to encourage people to shop. This bizarre cycle is insane, but since we are all part of it we can’t really see it.
I didn’t shop today nor do I plan to. I am working to make money so that I can keep my house, my TV, and my laptop. At the same time, I am not working to keep my children from starving, to prevent my family from living in a refrigerator box on the side of the road; and while I am finding it difficult to hang on to my expensive Silicon Valley home and pay my escalating health care costs, I am not even close to living in poverty.
So while everyone else is scrambling over others to score a cheap DVD player, I’m here worrying about the future but at the same time thankful that things aren’t as bad as they could (or should) be for me.