Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Gimme Gimme

Originally posted on April 1, 2009

(Give me, give me; buy my this, get my that.) Our Sun City community association just had a vendor faire and I went and saw what they had, partly out of a sense of community cooperation. It was a trying experience, passing through rows of salespeople wanting my attention, wanting me to sign up for this or that event, of all these things to do and get. Nice people, too. Fix up my house, decorate it, spa treatments, gardening, chiropractic, optometrists, hearing aids, insurance, financial advice, medical plans, some churches, etc. Over a hundred booths! It was the opposite of peace and quiet. I was reminded that there are so many things that I “should” feel I “need.”  Scarey. Bless them all for offering a service, trying to make a business happen. In our consumerist culture, they all need customers. (My biggest triumph was in not taking free candy.)

I was aware that there seem to be many who enjoy the prospect of shopping as an activity—indeed, shop till you drop! as the saying goes. Whew. I am becoming more acclimatized to quiet. Not even music playing. I gave the vendor faire an hour, and realized as I was walking out that I had missed a row, I think. (Slight pang of regret? Nah, let it go.) Enough is enough. Noticing feelings of sensory overload.

I knew people can get accustomed to all this sensory and opportunity density. It’s called “party time.” There’s a 1964 pop song by Tony Hatch titled Downtown, popularized especially by Petula Clark, who sings, “Downtown, where all the lights are gay!” But I’d rather be “under the boardwalk” (as another 60s pop beach song suggests) with my baby.

I’ve been pondering my ambivalent response to this kind of situation. I also experience this mixture of overload, desire, and a feeling of annoyance walking in a shopping mall. Part of the sense of annoyance is in reaction to my own susceptibility to allurement, my own desire to get it all, have it all. There’s a kid inside who gets fascinated by everything and wants, “buy me this, Mommy!” I have another more adult part who says, “We don’t need it. We can’t afford it. We’re not even going to look at it.” A third part is annoyed by the whole conflict, the seduction, the distraction from my own priorities, and this part’s annoyance has grown as I get older and realize that I can ill afford to indulge these distractions.

One Response to “Gimme Gimme”

  • Joan Champie says:

    In response to Gimme Gimme:
    All vendors/ads/billboards etc are designed to stimulate a sense of need in the unwary (the Great Unwashed, who are very gullible). Think of the TV ads for Celebrex or whatever; viewer become convinced he/she has the symptoms and then requests it from the physician. Any row of vendors will be composed solely of people wishing to instill need for their product or service, and such a venue is better avoided. In hot weather I sometimes do my daily walk in a mall (sans wallet) and become depressed by the avalanche of goodies offered on all sides….everything quite unnecessary unless one is nourished by acquisition alone.
    Question: do you think people in general are more apt then in previous years to expect immediate gratificaiton of a perceived need?

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