It started yesterday afternoon when I agreed to meet my friend CheLe at the mall. I've mentioned our mall romps before and one thing you may remember is that she's an avid shopper and I'm - not. In fact I like to joke that I'm like the husband, sitting in the middle of the mall bored out of my mind while she gleefully peruses rack after rack of - well I don't know of what but rack after rack of whatever racks in malls tend to hold.
Maybe it's because I've been purposely focusing on looking outward lately, I don't know, but this particular trip to the mall completely overloaded my senses!
Everywhere I went there was so much glitter, lights and shiny stuff I wanted to put on sunglasses. My nose was assaulted with so many clashing aromas I found myself trying to hold my breath whenever possible. And at one point a set of hidden speakers blared something that I think was supposed to be called music... but maybe it was just some terrible feedback loop... I'm still not sure.
But the thing that hit me the most was the people. There were women at make-up counters trying thing after thing to try and make themselves look younger, the nail places were full, the clothing racks were all disordered because so many people had taken stuff off and haphazardly tried to put it back, and several times I nearly got bowled over by people laden with multitudes of bags, walking quickly toward the next store as if their life depended on it.
As we made the rounds I caught snippets of conversations that I'm still not sure were entertaining or horrifying. It wasn't the content of the conversations so much as the tone. I mean there were people discussing which shade of blue is in this year as if it was going to have a major impact on world affairs. I heard part of a discussion on those anti-theft devices stores attach to clothing and the people were talking like it was a matter of national security. Excuse me but when did mall issues become so important? Will the world really stop spinning if I get the wrong shade of eye liner? Who knows.... it might :p
Another thing that got me is the prices. I'm pretty much a thrift store and sometimes Wal-Mart shopper and I'm generally into "cheap and functional." So you can imagine my surprise at finding a single skillet for over $200. Yes that's just ONE! Then there was the $750 (really ugly) dress, the $75 paper lamp shade, the $450 fancy massage chair - ok that one felt really good - and the $120 box of Lego's. Yes, $120 for plastic bricks! Not even sure what to say about that.
So yes folks, I finally understand that consumerism is not only alive and well but rampant in America today. And it's sad too because it's a testament to misplaced priorities and lack of appreciation for the simple things in life.
As a minimalist this offends me, as I truly believe that less is more and I'd rather have 1 multi-use gadget than 20 specialized ones that do only one thing and take up lots of room. I have no use for glitter or high prices for name brands. In short - I don't belong in main stream America at all.