Saturday, November 29, 2003

A mystery of capitalism...

Where does all the stuff go?

Yes, we did the shopping thing because we couldn't do the nature thing due to hurricane-like rains. We were with old people, too.

Shopping can be dangerous...they mowed this shopper down like a herd of cattle...

from Open Sewer

I hate to shop. If you like to shop, you may not realize that shopping actually takes skills (nay, even virtues) but I am proof that it does. First, it takes patience. You have to sort through all this stuff and then you have to try it on, etc., etc. But I don't have patience. Hence I tend to buy the very cheapest thing in the store in some stretchy fabric that does not involve trying it on. I often 'abandon' my purchases. I'll be holding some kinds of sheets or something, standing in line when suddenly I'll just think: MUST GET OUT OF HERE. And I will ditch them on some tables and flee. Flee into the open air. If there is any.

Generally, there isn't. You are in this self-enclosed bubble of a mall. But we were at an outlet mall. Outlet malls, as you may know, are temples of capitalism in or near the most pristine nature. In fact, my husband and I realized that climbing the hill to the outlet mall reminded us of a recent trip to Monte Alban--we drove on a similar hill going up to beautiful Zapotec ruins.

So the view from the parking lot of this outlet mall was breathtaking. Mist rising from the evergreens, etc.

I was with my in-laws. It was a strange thing. First, I was too embarrassed to jump ship and second I thought: Well, I should buy something. Just to fit in, ya know. To keep America going. So I did...a camisole. I know it will come in handy one of these days.

I buy things. True, I do sit around most days in soft comfy t-shirts that are between 10 and 20 years old and which someone probably gave to me. But I'm just like the next gal--I want to be pretty. It's just that I have to know exactly what it is that I will buy and I have to be able to locate it and purchase it in 15 minutes or I can't hack it any more and flee.

Also it has to be triple discounted. I like to have stuff (or I assume so--I do have plenty of stuff). But I don't like to pay for it.

But my puzzle of the moment was the abundance--the humungous and never ending amount of stuff. How could there be so much? It seemed implausible to me that someone was going to buy buy all of it. All those bras and underwear? They would sit there for the many years it takes? What about clothing? Would it really all sell? And then where does it go after the outlet mall? After the discount store? What happens to the forlorn cast offs? The odd sizes, the many remainders of creative design people and third world sweat? Does it ever get bought?


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