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Flirting with God -- Writer's Poke #346

Okay, so what if malls are our temples? What’s the big deal? According to Phyllis Rose’s article “Shopping and Other Spiritual Adventures in America Today,” Americans know how to handle materialism. To discuss materialism as if it were a problem doesn’t sound very American, anyway, does it? Makes those entering into the discussion sound like Marxists. 

The beauty of American materialism is that everyone has opportunity for stuff. Over the weekend, the Home Shopping Channel was advertising a 73 inch LCD TV for $1399, and it was available on EZ pay. Who can’t afford six easy payments of $233.17 a month? And, the salesman noted, a 73 inch TV won’t even feel like it’s consuming the room. 

Americans are sophisticated. We know that the purpose of shopping isn’t singular. We shop for a multitude of reasons; Rose even shop without any intention of buying. We window shop, and that takes on, she says, the same function as flirting. We can flirt with the 73 inch LCD TV in the store without any need to commit to it. If we leave it in the store, we know where it is if we want to visit it again. We don’t need to buy it and bring it into our living space. Just knowing that it’s there is enough, and we can visit it from time-to-time to maintain the connection. 

I like the idea of the ritual of shopping. Perhaps Americans aren’t as materialistic as those turtleneck-wearing Marxist-wannabes make us out to be. Perhaps shopping is no more harmful than flirting. But then why all the talk about the “spiritual” aspect of shopping? 

Has shopping fulfilled the human need for something greater than ourselves? Is it now okay to flirt with “God” without the need to worry about traditional commitment?

What would someone learn about you just by spending time shopping with you?

“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.” – Marcelene Cox


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