29 November 2008

What we talk about when we talk about...well, what do we talk about?

I hope it all was worth it. Nothing says holiday spirit like trampling workers to death or shooting fellow shoppers. Of course, the authorities in California are trying to distance the shooting from Black Friday or an argument over a toy, but the point remains that those involved were shopping and had an argument. And someone got shot. So maybe they weren't fighting over this year's hottest hard to get item, but I'm willing to bet that they're frayed nerves and quick tempers had something to do with the consumption frenzy that generally begins around 4 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving.

It seems to me that the main way in which we relate to other people is through consumption. We chat with the barista, we hand the valet the keys, or maybe we're on the other end of that equation. However, it goes beyond our interactions with others as server/served, producer/consumer. I think in many ways, consumption is the way many of us relate to the world. We don't know what to do when we aren't consuming. If a store is open -- even if there's nothing inside there we need -- many of us (and I'll include myself here) will go to that store just to walk around the aisles.

Maybe we'll find something we desperately need. Maybe we'll kill the hours, anyway.

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