How do you feel when shopping in a supermarket?
Just normal life, thousands of products sitting there (magically) to be chosen at will?
Or do feel like Laura Hartman in her opening in her book The Christian Consumer?
At times I find shopping to be just short oppressive. In stores, narrow aisles with hundreds of brightly colored products loom over me as if they are about to collapse under the weight of the choices they represent. Long after others have grabbed their selections and moved on, I might stand in front of the vegetables lost in thought, my mind looping through environmental factors, the family budget, and the claims of my community as I choose among produce that might be local, mid-range, or international; organic low-spray, or conventional; fresh, frozen, dried, or canned; nutrient dense and gourmet or quotidian yet still nutritionally sound. After I make the selection, I might still wander the store, trying to determine whether to settle on the less-than-ideal item in my hand or to search for an organic, fair trade, less expensive, or locally made version elsewhere, already anticipating my buyer’s remorse before I’m through the checkout line. Is it really so simple for those other shoppers I see in the store, filling their baskets and moving on with their evening plans?
In what follows she outlines a Christian way of thinking about the moral, creational, relational and industrial complexities of modern consumption. This looks like a really interesting book. But we’ll get to the theology and ethics later.
Back to the question. What for you are some of the issues, emotions and questions floating around that most challenging of activities – shopping?