Union Square Starbucks on Buy Nothing Day
Three New York headlines the day after Black Friday read, "Hell-Mart," "Frenzy," and "Death by Shopping." The temp worker Jdimytai Damour's face is smiling in a little oval frame in the corner. Then in the articles there are quotes from scholars and experts who make what has happened something we can understand, normal, not to be avoided.
We promise you, Jdimytai, that the professors of Consumerism won't normalize the terror of your last moments. This is the frenzied blur of greed that we all carry inside and wonder about. It's the Consumerism tumor -- in us but incubating at an unforeseen rate. And things happen that make us money, that we buy, that we helplessly watch rise from our buying -- like the Iraqi War, like the warming ocean. We Consumed it, we know we did. The purchases are so greased now, the plastic slides so easily -- how do we pull out of the blur?
I read that there was a Magnavox flat-screen DVD player on sale at the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, Long Island yesterday, available on Black Friday only, for $147. That is the deal that waits behind Jdimytai Damour. There he stands at the electronic doors, looking out at us. We stand in the darkness, pushing out with our elbows, spying the shiny packages up the aisles. We are a distorted America standing in the pre-dawn darkness. We have turned our Pursuit of Happiness into this desperate feeling. Jdimytai watches us. We push on the glass.
Jdimytai Damour, we will slow down! We will stop shopping!
Added note: Last night, Sunday the 30th, the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir embarked in two vans and a pace car with a lawyer -- journeying from mid-town Manhattan to the Wal-Mart at Valley Stream, Long Island -- for a vigil and songfest. We brought pictures of Jdimytai and candles. We arrived to find a ordinary and tawdry Wal-Mart, stuck in the dark corner of a vast mall named Green Acres. Everyone there, including the security officials (at least at first) appreciated our observance. There were no flowers, caution tape, or any evidence of the now-famous Shopocalypse. We gathered some passersby and a few locals who had been there on Friday morning and talked energeticly with our video team (interviews will posted soon at Revbilly.com).
We felt honored to be there to openly thank Jdimytai, offer his family a gesture of condolence, and contact in song and prayer a group of somewhat dazed, but also angry -- and mostly young -- consumers who were searching for something to hold onto.