Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Target observations

A successful trip to Target, especially since I didn't break the bank. We stuck to necessities--laundry detergent, light bulbs, shoes for the kids, etc. We did indulge ourselves by purchasing The Incredibles on DVD. Though we certainly don't *need* it, we probably will watch it many times, starting tonight. We're planning a big family movie night tonight featuring The Incredibles.

Whenever I go anywhere, I like to assess the kinds of people I'm surrounded by. One of the things I like about the area our Target is located is that it is fairly diverse (for the suburbs). It's definitely middle America though. Lots of people buying stuff that looks more expensive than it really is. Probably lots of people buying stuff they can't really afford. When I looked at how people were dressed, you can kind of see the desperation around the edges (I include myself in this picture). Their clothes don't fit as well as they should; they're too tight, too loose, too short. Partly, I'm sure this is the same reason my clothes don't fit too well sometimes. It's harder to find the right size in cheapville and cheap clothes are much more susceptible to shrinking and stretching (and fraying and ripping).

There were a few people who looked stylish and well put together and they stood out, almost as if we were being visited by a super model. Others were trying too hard; these were mostly teenagers who were trying to keep up with the latest fashions but couldn't afford to do so. Something was off--their shoes didn't match or underwear was showing or their pants were a little too short.

I wondered what the stories were behind these people. Who was recovering from a bitter divorce? Whose kid was on the verge of doing drugs? Who had suicidal thoughts in the middle of the night? Who had just been diagnosed with cancer? We try to leave those things behind, to cover that up with our clothes and the looks on our faces, but it doesn't always work. It reminds of the novel, White Noise by Don Delillo where the family goes shopping to ward off their fear of death. Isn't that why Bush encouraged us to go shopping after 9/11? To try to get our minds off of our death and deaths of thousands of others?

When I go shopping, I almost always think about this, about why we shop, why we consume. I know it is to fill some hole deep within us, but that we can't fill with consumer goods even though Target and Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Sears and Macy's and Bloomingdales all try to convince us otherwise. I always think before I shop. I try to only shop when I need something--food, household goods. I may not always succeed in only buying necessary items, but I try. I think.