Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shopping as Therapy.
The other day in line at the marvelous "Tarjaaay" near my house, I heard several women, one after another, reveal various bits of personal, rather sacred information, aloud to others. Said one: "Sorry I was on my cell-phone", she declared, "My Dad is dying, he has cancer. I wanted to, you know, talk to him. But today's a great day. He just spoke to my brother, he's having twins..."
The woman at the register gulped, and said " I'm so sorry you are going through all this.But how wonderful that your father is able to hear about the babies..." Her voice trailed off, as the "guest"(the term used by Target to describe their customers) nodded, saying how grateful she was, "I try to talk to him every day." The cashier responded with "You sound like a great daughter." The woman thanked the cashier for being kind. She exited, and an elderly lady slapped several jigsaw puzzles onto the conveyer belt."I'm afraid of getting Alzheimer's", she said. "You seem pretty sharp to me," said the smiling cashier. The tiny, frail, elderly woman smiled and said "Well, I want to keep my mind, is all."A few minutes later, a tall, elegant, but lonely elderly woman came through, with literally hundreds of items:daisy-dishes, spring glasses, and other dinnerware items, and quietly said "This is for my grandson's family. I never get to see them...I have several great-grandchildren, you know...They had trouble with having kids, but it's great now. We're very blessed."
And I'm thinking, maybe every time I think this country is all about consume, consume, consume, that maybe that's not it. At all. Maybe it's about connect, connect, connect. Maybe shopping is just an "excuse"(because we believe we need one) to connect with each other, face-to-face.
Because we don't all live near our families. Because our friends travel for business.Because shopping is the one activity we all must do. We all need tissue, towels, light bulbs, batteries, bottled water, etc., etc...and we all need, it seems, to connect, when we do it.
Shopping as Therapy? The conversations I'm overhearing lately, gives new meaning to the phrase.

8 comments:

writerwoman said...

I honesetly never thought of it that way. Its a really insightful way to look at our consumer culture. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

Collin said...

I shop for things when I want to make myself feel better, but I'm sure there's all kinds of reasons for "shopping therapy."

Lisa Allender said...

Thanks, writerwoman!
Coll, I think "shopping therapy" usually means exactly that--getting stuff when ya wanna feel better, which is why I was kinda stunned when I heard some shoppers actually getting "real" therapy....

Dustin said...

Lisa---Thanks for sharing the two stories-- they were touching.

Selma said...

I think you're on to something. Very touching stories. It would be nice to think that all this consumerism we're surrounded by actually served a higher purpose for some people.

Selma said...

I think you're on to something. Very touching stories. It would be nice to think that all this consumerism we're surrounded by actually served a higher purpose for some people.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi guys--Thanks to the recent commenters, Dustin and Selma...I DO think shopping can serve a higher purpose.It is a very "communal" activity-- We are social animals, after all!

KATE EVANS said...

You have a short story in this.