AM I the only person terrified by everything getting so big? Is anyone else feeling that the bigger things get, the more soulless they are becoming? McMansions furnishing each newborn with their own room and ensuite. People-movers providing every passenger with their own seat and personal air-conditioning settings. Buckets of popcorn larger than a human head flavoured not with butter but with butter flavouring.
Families eating around a wide-screen TV the size of a dining table. Mega-meal deals devoid of nutrition complete with a stuffed cheese crust, chocolate Bavarian and 1.25 litres of fizzy emptiness to wash it down. Shopping centres so massive it can take more than an hour to find your way back to your car. And as for coffee, once it was, “Sugar and milk?” These days not only is there a dazzling array of sexed-up artificial flavours but we have the choice of jug, bucket or trough. A simple cup of coffee is no longer enough. We want more.
If bigger was better I’d be thrilled for us. I’d be dancing in the streets wearing a T-shirt saying, “SUPER-SIZING IS YOUR TICKET TO SPIRITUAL AWARENESS AND INNER HAPPINESS”. But it’s not. The bigger things get, the smaller we are becoming.
The more we have, the less we’re enjoying it. The hole just gets bigger and that button inside us never turns off, no matter what we buy it, feed it or stuff it with. Obesity is soaring and depression is an epidemic. We’re knee deep in mortgage stress, debt slavery and the time poor. And the water is rising.
Abundance takes the value from everything. Nothing seems special any more. And we can’t help ourselves because we’re just mammals programmed to binge in times of plenty. Going to one of those all-you-can-eat places makes me feel sick. Eat more. It’s cheap. We’ve got heaps! This food means nothing. Pile up your plate. You deserve it. You’ve paid for it. The more you eat, the more value you’ll get.
You go from feeling empty to feeling stuffed, empty and sick. It’s a false economy. And it’s not making us happy. We don’t know what it feels like to be sated any more. We have two settings. Empty or overdosed.
Costco has now been open for two years. That sentence seems benign enough until you realise what Costco it. It’s an American chain of warehouse clubs. I hear you ask, what’s a warehouse club? Well, it’s a massive supermarket where you buy things in bulk.
Cheap. Very cheap. You pay a yearly fee of about $50 to be a member and because you’ve paid you feel compelled to drive out, stock up and get your money’s worth.
When I say bulk I’m talking “One-kilogram packets of potato chips … toilet rolls in packs of 36. Listerine in three-litre packs. Laundry detergent in nine-kilogram boxes … maple syrup by the gallon (3.8 litres) chocolate bars in packs of 30 … and dog food in 25-kilogram bags.” Items are displayed on pallets and the shopping trolleys are twice the usual size.
Don’t get conned by “it’s bulk and there are no plastic bags at the checkouts so it’s environmentally friendly”. It encourages a mentality of fear, famine and greed. It encourages people to consume more than they need. Eat three chocolate bars for the price of one. I’ve opened that kilogram bag of chips, so I may as well polish it off. We don’t need any more towels but they’re so cheap! Lets get 20. Because it’s cheap people feel they’re getting value for money. They’re not. It just means they’re eating more, spending more and feeling emptier. Instead of going to the local supermarket to buy what they need, they’re driving kilometres, taking 20 minutes to park and buying stuff they don’t need, because it’s cheap. And it’s there.
You may be thinking, “What’s she going on about? If people want to buy stuff to make them feel better, let ’em. We’re all going to die anyway. There’s more important stuff to write about: war, famine, poverty, the environment, the under-funded education system, overburdened health care …”
Can’t you see? All this gorging on abundance is destroying the environment, creating landfill and making us slaves to multinationals with “buying power”. It’s making us fat, sad and scared, which affects the cost of health care and leaves fewer resources for schools and aid. We’re getting stressed and sad and that impacts on our productivity, quality of life and happiness and that of those around us. And it’s corroding our souls.
Do what you like, buy what you like, drive what you like and shop where you like. But ask yourself if you are really getting value for money.
I’m glad the price of petrol is going up and the price of food is rising. It’s the only way that we’re going to stop, look around and realise what things are really costing us.